With the Finals underway and free agency looming, the Dallas Mavericks have some big offseason questions. Who do they bring in from free agency and will they re-sign any players from the 2013-2014 squad?
Of course Dirk is going to re-sign, but how much of a pay cut is he willing to take? There are talks that he may go around the 10 million range which makes sense. What about Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, Devin Harris, and Dejuan Blair? If they are going to make a big move in the offseason they may need to sacrifice not re-signing one, but maybe two of these players. Each one has come out and said they would like to return to Dallas, it just depends on how much the front office is willing to spend on these players. It makes sense to bring all of them back; they made huge contributions to the season and playoff series against San Antonio. Vince Carter makes the most sense to re-sign if he can bring the three-point shooting he brought last year, leading the league with the most three pointers out of any bench player. I would love to see Harris back for a few years if he is willing to sign cheap, same thing with Marion, but age may come into a factor in the Mavs decision to pursue re-signing him. Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson have some thinking to do on who they want to keep and who they are willing to cut ties with.
Now as far as signing free agents, the Mavs’ first and foremost need is a rim protector (being in the bottom third in the league in defensive efficiency), rebounding, and field goal percentage. With players like Tyson Chandler, Larry Sanders, and Marcin Gortat on the market the Mavs would be smart to pursue one of these players. Tyson Chandler was a big reason the Mavs brought home the 2011 championship, and I am sure all Mavs fans would be thrilled to have him back. There are two guys many people are talking about in free agency: Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. LeBron seems like a long shot to land in Dallas, but given that Melo opts out of his contract he could have a fit in the 3 spot. The question is do the Mavs go all out on him, and risk not signing another big man or defender? Hoping that Brandan Wright or Samuel Dalembert can step up and lock down the paint area, an area that killed the Mavs in the playoffs.
If they can’t land Melo, and say they trade for Chandler or sign Gortat, who will be the third scorer behind Dirk and Monta? Possibly a Chandler Parsons, he is young rising star and a terrific shooter, but his downfall is his inconsistency on defense which may bring down the Mavs’ willingness to sign him given their poor defense last season. There’s also Luol Deng, he may be the best overall choice for the Mavericks. Deng is a solid defender, decent scorer, and can play both forward positions. The Mavs can pursue Melo, but if they let Deng slip through their fingers (Ex: Al Jefferson last offseason while going for Dwight Howard) it would be considered a loss to many people. Luol Deng would not be a max contract guy if we can sign him for just the right amount. The Mavs may be able to re-sign Dejuan Blair to back up Dirk in the power forward spot.
This offseason is going to be a huge step towards becoming a contender with Dirk in his final years. Will it be a disappointment like the past off seasons or will it be a success and the Dallas Mavericks finally get the players they are after?
To be continued…