The Jazz needed to make a move for a big-time player since Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver both signed with the Bulls, and Wesley Matthews has agreed to an offer sheet with the Blazers. The Jazz had no flexibility in free agency, but did acquire the asset of a trade exception from Chicago that they used to make this deal possible. Big Al replaces Boozer and likely starts ahead of Paul Millsap who should retain his position as a very valuable bench player.
For Utah to only give up a protected first-round pick that they received from Memphis, another likely non-lottery first-rounder, and a third-string center for a potential 20-10 guy is quite the steal. Yes, Jefferson is owed $42 million the next three seasons, but he is only 25 years old and could be poised for a breakout season now that he is more than a year removed from his ACL injury.
Why this makes sense for Minnesota:
Because David Kahn is insane. I don't understand why a re-building franchise trades their best player who is only 25 years old for two future picks, another project center and cap space? I don't get it. I just don't get it. Because you brought in Michael Beasley and are convinced he will be a better option at power forward than Big Al? Because your goal is to collect as many draft picks as possible next year so you can pick three more of one position? Because you are desperate to clear enough cap space to land a third point guard?
Here is what we have learned about David Kahn; he covets draft picks and cap space, but has no idea what he is doing when he has both. The Timberwolves' financial flexibility this offseason was eaten up by Darko, Nikola Pekovic and Michael Beasley. Their five picks turned into three small forwards and a pair of foreign players who will likely not come to Minnesota for a couple of years, if they even come to the NBA at all. He is on the verge of adding Luke Ridnour who if his "plan" goes accordingly will be the fourth point guard on the roster next summer when Ricky Rubio comes to Minnesota.
Then there is late word that Kosta Koufus is thrown into the deal. Of course, because the T-Wolves need another dopey center to add to their current mix.
The Mavs had a huge trade chip in Dampier whose contract for 2010-2011 is not guaranteed. That means he can be released before the season begins and his $13 million salary would not count towards that team's salary cap. Since Dallas struck out in their attempt to land Al Jefferson, they switched their attention to Chandler who will combine with the re-signed Brendan Haywood as the Mavs' inside presence. Chandler is also in the final year of his contract so Dallas will still have a valuable trade piece to possibly make a major move during the season.
By getting rid of Carroll and Najera, the Mavs save about $6.5 million in cap space for next season. Ajinca is still a work in progress but a nice "throw-in" for the Mavs.
Why this makes sense for Charlotte:
At the last minute, the Bobcats backed out of a deal with the Raptors that would have sent Chandler to Toronto for Jose Calderon. So instead they dealt Chandler and Ajinca for Dampier's evaporating contract and two overpaid veterans who don't come off the books until 2012. Hmmm...
The Bobcats need a point guard to replace Raymond Felton and will try to use Dampier's non-guaranteed deal to land one. But if Chandler could not get a serviceable replacement in return, I am not sure how Dampier's does. If the Bobcats are unable to deal Dampier for something of value before the start of the season, he gets cuts and this deal makes zero sense. It makes even less sense since they are eating up two overpriced contracts of veterans who will likely not have much of an impact in Charlotte. Good one, MJ!