Anyone else besides Derek Fisher?

Payroll and lack of talent made veteran Dallas' best option at point

Updated: December 5, 2012, 1:17 PM ET
By Joe Kaiser | ESPN Insider
Dallas MavericksKevin Jairaj/US PresswireDerek Fisher might be old, but he was the best a desperate Mavericks team could do.

Questioning the Dallas Mavericks' decision to sign veteran point guard Derek Fisher last week is about as easy as a wide-open Dirk Nowitzki jumper from the top of the key.

If you're an upset Mavs' fan, we get it: Fisher is 38 years old, he hasn't had a double-digit PER since 2008-09 (league average is 15), and he isn't the big-name acquisition that would've re-energized American Airlines Arena.

He's not an emerging young star like an Eric Bledsoe or a well-known veteran with less mileage like a Jose Calderon.

What Fisher is, though, is a five-time NBA champion, a proven team leader and someone who can be counted on to provide instant stability. And that's exactly what Dallas, losers of four of their last five and eight of their last 11 at the time of the signing, desperately needed.

"We need help at point guard," coach Rick Carlisle said in The Dallas Morning News after the team's loss in Chicago last week. "We feel [Fisher] can help us. It's not a cure-all to all of our team challenges, but his expertise and experience will help."

This, of course, was largely due to the suspect play of offseason pickup Darren Collison, who was benched last week after playing inconsistently on offense and poorly on defense throughout November. Replacing him with younger, less experienced players on the roster like Dominique Jones or Rodrigue Beaubois clearly wasn't the answer -- and it only took two straight losses for Dallas to come to that conclusion.

That's why the move was made to bring in Fisher.

"

We need help at point guard. We feel [Fisher] can help us. It's not a cure-all to all of our team challenges, but his expertise and experience will help.

" -- Rick Carlisle, Dallas Mavericks head coach

Here's the thing: while it may be easy to criticize the move, it's much more difficult to find another player that's a better fit given what the Mavs were looking for (a smart, dependable low-priced veteran leader) and what they would have been able to get via any trade.

Remember, Fisher went from being an unsigned free agent on Nov. 28 to a Mavs' starter three days later in a 15-point win over Detroit. Doing so, mind you, on a veteran's minimum one-year, $1,113,560 million deal.

How could the Mavs have done better? That's tough to say.

One big complication is Dallas' unusual partly young, partly old roster, which is composed of few tradeable players that:

1.) Have enough trade value to warrant interest from other teams.
2.) Have large enough salaries to be able to bring back a big salary in return.

Really, it would have come down to finding a taker for a veteran like Shawn Marion (guaranteed roughly $8.6 million this year and $9.3 million in 2013-14) and/or Vince Carter (guaranteed $3.12 million this year with a team option for $3.18 million in 2013-14), offering an expiring contract like that of Dahntay Jones for someone locked up to a longer deal, or being willing to unload some of the team's younger talent like Jared Cunningham, Jae Crowder, Bernard James, Brandan Wright, Beaubois or Jones.

Here's a closer look at what some of those other point guard options -- via trade -- could have been:


To read more of whether the Dallas Mavericks had any other options besides Derek Fisher at point guard, become an Insider today

Joe Kaiser

Fantasy, Insider