Following the DeAndre Jordan free-agency saga, Dallas has made an effort to salvage their season and debunk any ‘Tank’ rumors by sending a second round pick to Milwaukee in exchange for Gregorian Center, Zaza Pachulia. Veteran Point Guard, Deron Williams was recently inked to a 2 year deal, with a player option, worth a total of upwards of $11 million.
Wesley Matthews and J.J Barea have been the primary beneficiaries in the wake of the recent free-agency spurn. Matthews was signed to a 4 year, 70 million dollar max contract and Barea re-negotiated his prior 2 year, 5.7 million dollar agreement to a much more lucrative 4 year, 16 million dollar deal. Dallas has touched base with the likes of Samuel Dalembert, JaVale McGee, Tyler Hansbrough, Kevin Seraphin and Elton Brand to bolster their front-court depth but nothing seems imminent up to this point. Surprisingly, they are looking for help overseas as well.
The popular question(s) now seem to be: How much cap space do the Mavericks currently have? What is taking so darn long to sign front court help (patience)? Lastly, what can we expect for the upcoming 2015-2016 season?
To delve into all of this we must first do some number crunching, so let’s get out our pencils and papers. Courtesy of Dallasbasketball.com, below is a reader friendly chart of Dallas’ situation.
Granted the above chart is slightly outdated since it has not taken into consideration Barea’s re-negotiated contract or Petteri Koponen’s recent document filings with Dallas.
With Barea’s new deal, he will earn roughly $3,747,073 this upcoming season with annual raises. William’s salary for this season is expected to be roughly $5,378,974 and $5,621,026 in year two. Petteri Koponen and Dallas filed paper work stating they couldn’t sign him for another season thereby removing his cap hold worth $943,300. Take into consideration the cost of an empty roster slot ($525,093) and this move saves the Mavs about $418,207 in cap space.
What Mavs have to work with: About $4,000,000 in cap space and the Room Mid Level Exception worth $2,814,000. Mavs could also create an additional $2,600,000 in cap space if Raymond Felton is waived via the stretch provision.
Dallas is in serious need of front-court help with Pachulia being the only true Center on the roster and not much help behind Dirk. They are considering all their options and won’t throw their cap space at the first big they come across.
JaVale McGee to Dallas is a popular scenario that many fans hope gets done but as ESPN’s Marc Stein reports, the issues lie beyond on court fitting and more on medical concerns. McGee has played a total of 28 games the past 2 seasons. From Matthews’ Achilles tear, to Williams’ ankle issues, to Parsons’ knee injury, athletic trainer Casey Smith and the entire medical staff have work cut out for them and won’t give the green light on someone they don’t think can make a full recovery.
The last thing Dallas Mavericks fans want to do is wait, especially following the free agency frenzy. Dallas is attempting to acquire front-court depth, perhaps on as many contract friendly deals they can (think minimums) because the reality is the free agent market is already thin. They won’t tie up cap space and sign players for the sake of filling up roster slots. Neither will they stretch Felton unless they have an imminent plan in place to use that cap space as they very much prefer to unload him in a trade in order to take back as much salary then can for any incoming talent. This chart explains in more detail. With possible buyouts on the horizon, having cap space allows Dallas to outbid their competitors once those players clear waivers.
Patience is a virtue.
The upcoming season is full of question marks, the most in recent memory. Can Matthews return to form following his Achilles tear? Though he’s adamant he’ll be better. What version of Deron Williams will we see in a Dallas uniform? Is Chandler Parsons ready to have the offense run through him?
The key thing to note is each of these aforementioned players will come into the season with a chip on their shoulder. Matthews carries a constant chip on his shoulder after going undrafted and will now carry an even bigger one. Williams will come to Dallas with the hope of re-establishing himself in what’s basically a contract year for him, and Parsons after getting blind sided by a player he recruited essentially all free agency, will look to prove that Dallas was the preferable destination and that he’s capable of taking the next step in his career.
At this point there are more questions than answers. It’s come to the point for many, that Dallas’ season will either go up in flames or be surprisingly successful as they work themselves into the 2nd tier of the Western Conference.