In the Cheap Seats

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

July 7, 2007 - In a bid to become assistant general manager to the Yankees, "Seinfeld" pal George Costanza once told fake Steinbrenner that he knew "a way to get Ken Griffey Jr. and not really have to give up that much."

To that same end, in my bid to become Mavs GM, I have a way for the Mavericks to get Kevin Garnett and not really have to give up that much.

Mark Cuban, if you're reading along, it goes something like this:

First of all, the Mavericks have to part with Josh Howard. That's a tough one, but if you get KG in return, you have upgraded your line-up.

Before a trade can happen though, the Mavericks must get ready to sign a couple of free agents now that they have secured Jerry Stackhouse with a three-year contract. Tops on the free agent list is Gerald Wallace, who averaged over 18 points and seven boards for Charlotte last year. He will fill the hole left by the departure of J-Ho.

The Mavericks will also need to get some bench help because they are going to have to part with a couple of bench players to land Garnett. That bench help could come in the form of swingmen Matt Barnes (10 points, 4.6 rebounds), Mickael Pietrus (11 points, 4.5 rebounds) or James Posey (7.7 points, 5 rebounds). They are all between 6-6 and 6-8, and can all play decent defense and score a little.

And don't forget little Earl Boykins. The 5-5 guard is diminutive, but the Mavericks could use a speedball who can shoot (14.6 points) and dish (4.4 assists).

But, back to the trade.

In exchange for Garnett, Minnesota would want more than Howard. The Timberwolves want young players and they want draft picks. The Mavericks, on the other hand, can't afford to give up their other best young player, Devin Harris, so they would need to get a third team involved. Preferably, it is an Eastern Conference team that needs a few veterans to make a run at the conference title - which could be a lot of teams in the watered-down East.

If the Mavs can find a team who wants Erick Dampier, who is expendable with KG coming on board, Greg Buckner and even Jason Terry in exchange for a couple of young players or a moderate draft pick heading to Minnesota, then the Mavericks could have the basis for a trade.

If that happens, the Mavs' starting line-up next year looks something like this: PG-Devin Harris; SG-Gerald Wallace; SF-Jerry Stackhouse; PF-Dirk Nowitzki; C-Kevin Garnett. Stackhouse could start or the Mavericks could start Posey, Barnes or Pietrus, whoever they sign.

Mo Ager comes off the bench, as does Desagana Diop and J.J. Barea.

That's a pretty powerful line-up, and one the Mavericks might need to get past Phoenix (who signed Grant Hill) and the world champion Spurs.

If it doesn't work, boy have I got a trade to run by Steinbrenner.

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