It wasn’t the season the Dallas Mavericks envisioned having after trading for Rajon Rondo back in December. Even before the Rajon Rondo trade went down the additions of Tyson Chandler and Chandler Parsons last summer was more than enough for the organization and it’s fans to be excited but it ended much like last season, a first round playoff exit.
The talent level improved significantly from a season ago when the Dallas Mavericks played in a thrilling seven game series against the defending champion San Antonio Spurs. So with the new additions in the offseason and even Rajon Rondo and Amar’e Stoudemire mid-season nothing short of a deep playoff run would satisfy this franchise.
Now after being bounced out in the first round by the Houston Rockets the Mavericks have big decisions regarding free agency. Monta Ellis, Tyson Chandler, J.J Barea, Charlie Villanueva, Amar’e Stoudemire, Al-Farouq Aminu, Gregory Smith, Bernard James and even Rajon Rondo will all be unrestricted free-agents.
In Wednesday morning’s, April 29, exit interviews multiple Mavs players expressed their desire to remain in Dallas but that of course depends on their asking price.
Rajon Rondo is one player Dallas doesn’t plan on having back nor they do want him back after the Rondo experiment finally blew up during game 2 of the playoffs. It’s no kept secret that Rondo didn’t get along with Rick Carlisle’s philosophy of running the offense and for that reason it created friction on the court between the once All-Star point guard and champion winning head coach.
The Rondo trade was seen by many as the missing piece for what could have been a championship caliber team but it just didn’t pan out. Rondo’s shooting limitations and at many times, his effort, on the defensive end hampered the Mavericks ability to compete at a high level. Maybe Rajon Rondo is simply not the same player he use to be or perhaps it was simply a bad fit but regardless of the answer he’s no longer the Mavericks problem.
Dallas GM Donnie Nelson was asked on if he would do the Rondo trade over again if he was given another chance and he said yes without hesistation. The Mavericks wanted and still need an elite point guard if they want to compete with the league’s best teams and will be an issue they try to find an answer for this summer.
Chandler Parsons is also one of the biggest concerns going into the offseason because of the questions surrounding his knee injury that cause him to miss the last month of the season and playoffs minus game 1. There’s a thinking that he may require microfracture surgery and that may cause him to miss the beginning of the regular season but that has yet to be confirmed.
If that comes to fruition it may force the Mavs to pursue re-signing Al-Farouq Aminu even more as he demonstrated in the playoffs what he can do in a starting role. Aminu was the Mavericks youngest player on the roster and was their best defender and most energetic player off the bench.
Dirk Nowitzki was asked during exit interviews if he would accept a sixth man role coming off the bench and said it would if it meant the Mavs could add marquee free agents. It’s hard to imagine the future hall of famer no longer in the starting lineup but his defensive limitations may have gotten to the point where they can no longer be hidden. Chandler Parsons stated that he will do his best to recruit free-agents to Dallas as he has great relationships with many other NBA players and will play the role of player GM over the next couple months.
Far as free-agents the Mavericks will take a hard look at to bring to Dallas, DeAndre Jordan and LaMarcus Aldridge are at the top of that list. Multiple sources have recently reported that DeAndre Jordan, the former Texas A&M Aggies, is extremely interested in coming to Dallas. Jordan is only 26 and while he has limitations at the free throw line he is a better finisher and defender than Tyson Chandler who is 32 and was outplayed by Dwight Howard in the playoffs.
LaMarcus Aldridge is from the Dallas area and has indicated that his days in Portland may be over but Dallas won’t be the only team interested as the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, and even the San Antonio Spurs will be in the running for his services. If Aldridge were to go to Dallas then it may almost certainly mean Dirk Nowitzki would become the Mavs new 6th man.
Last but not least what the Mavs do with Monta Ellis (player option) will be another major summer storyline as Ellis has also rubbed off negatively in the locker room throughout the season and has been a headache at times for the Dallas coaching staff. Monta Ellis will also be 30 next season and his style of play doesn’t bode well from an injury perspective as he was hurt at different stints this past season. His size at the shooting guard position is also less than ideal for a Dallas team that has more than it’s share of defensive issues. Nonetheless Monta Ellis was the Mavericks leading scorer this past regular season and they’ll have to look at other options to fill the void of his offensive departure if he does not return.
With the salary cap jumping significantly starting for the 2015-2016 season, Dallas may use that to their advantage by signing marquee players such as LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan to lucrative one year deals and then sell them on the idea of long-term deals the following season when there’s more money to spend.
There’s a lot of questions to be answered but one thing’s certain, it’ll be another busy summer for Mavs owner Mark Cuban and the front office.