@Dinner The Patriots have no options at OT? Solder and Vollmer are both legit options when healthy. Not great, but legit. As long as Brady has all of his weapons and is able to get rid of the football quickly-their offensive line should be just fine. They added a couple of versatile offensive linemen in the draft that should be able to compete for one of the starting guard spots and backup tackle spots. Dante Scarnecchia is arguably the best offensive line coach ever because of his miraculous works over the years with no-named, off the street players. Dante will make their offensive line better. I don't see Pittsburgh beating New England at New England in the playoffs because of their weak defense, specifically their secondary. The Patriots got better on offense this off-season and Brady loves playing against the Steelers' defense.
24. B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State
Mullens is definitely worth the risk at this point. He gets swapped with Rodrigue Beaubois which isn't a surprise since the Thunder will reportedly high on Mullens and adds to their youth movement. (Even though I think Mullens will be a bust.) (Pick Grade: Makes Sense)
56. Ahmad Nivins, PF, Saint Joseph's
With Brandon Bass an unrestricted free agent, Nivins is a solid pick as a possible replacement. His game is still raw, but he does play hard on the glass. (Pick Grade: Makes Sense)
2009 NBA Offseason Transactions:
Mavericks re-sign G/F James Singleton
Mavericks cut SG Greg Buckner
Mavericks sign F Tim Thomas
Mavericks sign PF Drew Gooden
Magic sign PF Brandon Bass
Mavericks acquire SF Shawn Marion, SG Greg Buckner, PF Kris Humphries for SG Antoine Wright, SG Jerry Stackhouse, PF Devean George
Mavericks sign SG Quinton Ross
Mavericks re-sign PG Jason Kidd
Mavericks acquire PG Nick Calathes from Timberwolves for future second-rounder
Thunder acquire C B.J. Mullens from Mavericks for PG Rodrique Beaubois
2008-09 Season Summary:
The Mavericks quietly put together a decent season on their way to a ninth straight play-off appearance. They helped themselves reach that mark by developing some solid team chemistry and a defined pecking order. That combination helped Mark Cuban's team win 50 games and advance past the first round of the playoffs since 2006. Jason Terry embraced his bench role and won the NBA 6th Man of the Year Award while providing that needed scoring punch off the bench. Even the ultra scrutinized Josh Howard was able to fight through his early season struggles to be very reliable down the stretch. The first round win over the Spurs opened many people's eyes to the fact that unlike their in-state rivals, the Mavericks still have some options and hope in the years to come.
SF: Josh Howard/Shawn Marion/Tim Thomas/Shawne Williams
SG: Jason Terry/Quinton Ross/Matt Carroll/James Singleton
PG: Jason Kidd/Jose Juan Barea
NBA Free Agents:
C Ryan Hollins (RFA)
SG Gerald Green (UFA)
2009-10 Team Salary: Approximately $68.7 million
2009-10 Expected League Salary Cap: $57.3 million
NBA Offseason Needs:
1. A Point Guard - The Mavs are at least going to explore the option of bringing back Jason Kidd. Unfortunately J-Kidd is about 60 years old and if they want to have a shot at winning it all with Dirk, they need someone young that can be a pass first point guard who can hit open threes (and play defense). Mark Cuban needs to give serious thought to picking a point guard with their only pick in this year's draft.
2. Re-signing some talent - Even though Cuban is filthy stinking rich and isn't in any trouble financially (oddly enough, he says the team lost money but they are over the cap and the eccentric owner doesn't seem concerned at all) the Mavs owner is going to foolishly spend money. Realistically the best way for him to address the need for depth on his current squad is to bring back some of the unrestricted free agents from last year's team. Other than Kidd, Brandon Bass and Ryan Hollins are very good candidates to be brought back to Dallas.
3. A Big Man - Dirk is a seven footer that can't really defend other seven footers. Erick Dampier is going to turn 34 this summer and his minutes will likely decline for the third straight year. Going through the Western Conference in the post-season, Dallas is going to see several dominating post players and having a capable defensive presence to body up those big men is crucial. The problem is that they only have one draft pick and zero flexibility in free agency due to their massive team salary which is once again well above the salary cap.