For the past couple of months, these players have been mentioned one way or another with the Dallas Mavericks. Some good, some great and some unrealistic, but the Mavericks are yet one small step from being a true contender.
Not to say that this year wasn’t a successful. We did take the NBA Champion Spurs to seven games…no other team could say that. I still believe that if the Mavericks did win Game 7, they would’ve made the NBA Finals with a great chance at winning their second title.
But some players can work, it’s all about finding that right team and that right fit. Rick Carlisle is a great coach. Some people fit in this system such as Tyson Chandler and Monta Ellis. Some don’t like Chris Kaman, Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo.
Not since 2010, do we see such a free agent class with so much talent. Mark Cuban will be doing all he can to placing that final piece of the puzzle to make the Mavs a legit number one team in the West. In my opinion, I think the Mavs are better off with two or three good players than going after a superstar.
Of course, like in 2010, franchise leader Dirk Nowitzki is once again on the block, but will no doubt resign and is willing to take a pay cut to bring in more weapons.
Many players have until June 24 to opt out while the NBA Draft is set for June 26. Free agency officially begins July 1.
Each free agent will be based on a five-star rating (Salaries and Averages subject to 2013-14 season)-
5 stars= Get him a jersey
4 stars= Intense talks
3 stars= My people will call your people
2 stars= Let me take a look at him
1 star= Move along
Mavericks Last Season
DEVIN HARRIS – Unrestricted
Salary- $1.27 million
Averages- 8 ppg, 4.5 rpg
4 stars- This was his second stint with Dallas and it seems that it’s the right fit. He’s played with the Nets, Jazz and Hawks, and even though he was a starter at all three, it seems Harris has finally found his calling as a role player with the Mavericks. Other teams will be shopping for Harris and giving him starting point guard money. If Harris goes for the money, he won’t be back. If he loves what’s going on in Dallas, expect him back.
DEJUAN BLAIR – Unrestricted
Averages- 6.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg
5 stars- Once Blair was moved to the bench in San Antonio, it seemed like he lost his fight, his passion with the game. In Dallas, he found that once more. Blair brings toughness and skill to the Mavs bench and is still capable to being a starter. He’s a guy that can still get a double-double and Carlisle trusts him enough to leave him in during the end of close games. Age isn’t an issue like Carter and Marion. Blair is too small for a center, but if the Mavs thought that in the first place, they wouldn’t have signed him last season.
VINCE CARTER – Unrestricted
Salary- $3.18 million
Averages- 12 ppg, 3.5 rpg
4 stars- In the same case as Harris, Carter has seemed to find the right role for where he’s at in his career. Nearing 40 years of age, I don’t think Carter can be a starter in the league anymore. If he is, it’s not usual starter minutes. I like what Carter brings for Dallas. When he’s on, he’s on, and it’s hard to beat Dallas. He adds a spark and much-needed bench points when guys like Dirk and Monta are taking a quick breather. I expect Carter to be back. As mentioned, I don’t see Carter ever starting again, unless he has to. He might have the passion to be a starter once again, and if a team comes out and gives him that guarantee, Carter may walk. He’s getting up there, and the Mavs may want to let him go, seeing they could save some money for the bigger, younger fish.
SHAWN MARION – Unrestricted
Salary- $9.31 million
Averages- 10.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg
2 stars- Marion is a tough cookie to crack. He’s also getting up there, but the one thing that’s in favor for him is his ability to play defense despite his age. At times, he seems to be an offensive liability, but other times, he comes up with the huge buckets. If he leaves, Dallas will need to fill a huge void in its defense, something the Mavs already struggled with at times. The real reason the Mavs should part ways with the Matrix is money. Last season, Marion was paid over $9 million. I think if he’s willing to take a pay cut, he’ll be back, but the Mavs may just want to walk away. With other big names out there, the Mavs might be able to get someone cheaper and younger like a Trevor Ariza, who’s no slouch on the defensive end.
BERNARD JAMES – Unrestricted
Averages- 0.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg
1 star- It’s a shame that Sarge didn’t play more last season. He’s still young and a big guy which could’ve helped against the Spurs. He had great per-48 numbers a couple of seasons ago, which led to another season in Dallas. James will find work though, unfortunately the only way it’s still in Dallas is if the Mavs are content will the center position.
Other notable free agents
PATTY MILLS – Restricted
Salary- $1.33 million
Averages- 10.2 ppg, 1.8 apg
1 star- The Mavs should resign Harris, someone who knows the system, knows the coach and knows the players. A part of me senses that Mills’ performance in the playoffs was a somewhat fluke. Dallas also has Monta that can run the point, Shane Larkin is going to get better with competition from Gal Mekel. Some other teams may be dishing out some major dough for Mills to be their starting point, in which he has the potential to do so.
DWYANE WADE – Early Termination Option
Salary- $18.5 million
Averages- 19 ppg, 4.7 apg
1 star- Wade is one of those guys you want on your team because of his ability to score and his passion for the game, but I don’t see him playing for any other team than Miami. Wade’s problem is health. His knees won’t get any better, which will make him a liability.
LANCE STEPHENSON – Unrestricted
Averages- 13.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 4.6 apg
4 stars- This is where it gets tricky. I don’t see the Mavs signing Marion, Deng AND Stephenson, but could do the latter two. If Deng isn’t available, Stephenson is the next best option. He led the league last season with six triple-doubles, and can play the two or three. If Marion sticks around, it would be huge to give him a break and let Stephenson guard the opponent’s best player like a Durant or a James. Health plays a factor for Deng, and Stephenson, while cocky, is durable (played 78 games last season). His high ego and media surroundings may hurt Dallas, but Rick Carlisle and Mark Cuban could really help him in that category. Bonus is he could be cheap ($980K last season with Indy). Had career-highs in nearly every category last season.
GORDON HAYWARD – Restricted
Salary- $3.45 million
Averages- 16.2 ppg, 5 rpg, 5.2 apg
2 stars- Hayward had a career-year, starting in a career-high 77 games last season. He averaged 16, 5 and 5 along with 1.5 steals a game. He’s a restricted free agent, and in high demand, so I think the Mavs should stay away from the former-Butler star. Anything the Mavs throw out, the Jazz are going to match, and if Dallas goes too high, it may be too late for anyone else.
AVERY BRADLEY – Restricted
Salary- $2.5 million
Averages- 15 ppg, 3.8 rpg
3 stars- Bradley would be a steal whether or not the Mavs sign Marion, Stephenson or Deng. It would elevate their defense, which finished 20th in points allowed. Bradley finished the 2012-13 season on the 2nd team All-Defense. He’s a small guy at 6’2, but has the ability to guard bigger guys. If Dallas signs him, it would take some of the load off Monta because even on a bad team last season, Bradley can still score at 15 points per game. Question is, will the Celtics match any offer to bring him back to Boston?
LEBRON JAMES – Early Termination Option
Salary- $19 million
Averages- 27 ppg, 7 rpg
1 star- James is arguably the best player on the planet. He’ll quickly fill a void in Dallas’ small forward depth, if Marion leaves. He can score, he can defend. People give him crap, but the truth is…James gets it done. With James, Dallas can be in the Finals year after year, but money is an issue. He’s going to cost a fortune. Does he want to take less money to come to Dallas? Don’t think so. Media hype around him may hurt Dallas and Nowitzki.
CARMELO ANTHONY – Player Option
Salary- $21.5 million
Averages- 27.4 ppg, 8 rpg
2 stars- Melo is one of those guys, like James, that you want on your team because he’s such a big name. So really, why shouldn’t the Mavs try to sign him? Melo may play well under Carlisle, but until I see it, I’m optimistic. I sense that Anthony will hurt the Mavs and Dirk may go into retirement on a miserable note, which is the last thing Mavs fans want. Money is an issue too, and just like James, is he willing to take less money to come to Big D. Dallas is better off signing three players at average price.
LUOL DENG – Unrestricted
Salary- $14.3 million
Averages- 16.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg
4 stars- He was a dud in Cleveland, it wasn’t the right fit. Deng needs a great coach to play for and that’s what Rick Carlisle is. Deng would be a good fit in Dallas and add depth to the Mavs small forward position. He’s athletic and lengthy and plays great defense. Averaged 19, 7 and 3.7 assists in 23 games with Chicago before being shipped to Cavs, where he averaged 14.3 points, 5 boards and 2.5 dimes in 40 games with Cleveland. Also fewer minutes and shooting percentage in Cleveland. Whether or not the Mavs keep Marion, Deng would be a steal to get, the question being if he can stay healthy. If Deng can play at least 65-70 games, it’s a win for the Mavs. He’s done that five time in his 10-year career (63 in 2013-14, 75 in 2012-13). When he does that, he can be a 15-5-5-2 type of player. Doesn’t come cheap though.
TREVOR ARIZA – Unrestricted
Salary- $7.7 million
Averages- 14.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg
3 stars- It’s surprising to me that Ariza has never made an All-Defensive Team in his 10 years, but he has more than the skills to do so. In the last six seasons, Ariza has recorded 1.6 steals or more a game, a 1.4 career-average. His perimeter game is improving as he shot 45.6 percent from the field and a career-high 41 percent from downtown last season in Washington. That could make him a D.C. favorite. I think the Mavs have a great chance of landing Ariza and Avery Bradley, which would add to the defense. Even though he’s 6’8, he’s good enough to cover the two-guard which would make for a big, but effective lineup for Dallas.
CHRIS BOSH – Early Termination Option
Salary- $19 million
Averages- 16.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg
3 stars- Bosh can play the center position, which could make for a better role for Samuel Dalembert off the bench. Bosh is also a Dallas native, so playing in his hometown could go hand-in-hand. He can still score, even in Miami where he was the No. 3 guy. He can rebound well too, something Dalembert lacked at times. He will add depth to a soft center position, with Blair being too small and Wright being too skinny. His three-ball has vastly improved, but he might be dying for big bucks and the spotlight once again.
GREG MONROE – Restricted
Salary- $4 million
Averages- 15.2 ppg, 9.3 rpg
5 stars- Monroe is my top choice for center if the Mavs go out and get one. I think Dallas needs one. Dalembert finished strong, but as for depth, we could use bigger guys. Blair is more of a power and Wright needs more weight. Dirk’s rebounding numbers are also declining. Monroe was a beast after his rookie season when he jumped from nine to 15.5 points a game and consistently grabbed nine boards. He was still able to grab nine boards last season even with Andre Drummond having an absolutely incredible year. In Dallas, Monroe would pretty much be the main source for rebounds. He would easily be a double-double guy and he’s durable, 81 and 82 games last two seasons. Both Monroe and Dalembert are listed at 6’11, 250, but Monroe has a better jumper. Though a restricted free agent, I’m not sure if Detroit wants to match any price. I see the Pistons moving Drummond to the full-time center and departing with Monroe, even though the latter goes cheap ($4 million last year, $13 million career).
MARCIN GORTAT – Unrestricted
Salary- $7.7 million
Averages- 13.2 ppg, 9.5 rpg
4 stars- Gortat, like Monroe, has a nice shot and is a big body. He played in a career-high-tying 81 games, starting in a career-high 80 games (previous high was 66). It will be hard to get Gortat, I see a bunch of offers going his way. He made $7.7 million last season and was a nice fit in D.C. Mavs may have to beat out Washington to get him. Like Monroe, he would be the main source of rebounds on Dallas and can be a double-double guy. May be a better fit because, even though a small factor, a part of me thinks Gortat, Dirk and Jose would find good chemistry solely on the fact that they’re all intentional.
SPENCER HAWES – Unrestricted
Salary- $6.5 million
Averages- 13.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg
2 stars- If it falls to Hawes, the Mavs should sign him. He hasn’t played with a good team in his entire career. He had some good moments with the Sixers, and last season with the Cavs he shot 44.5 percent from deep in 27 games after being traded from Philly. He’s really improved his shooting and he’s a big guy, 7’2 and 245 pounds. He plays well off the bench, but has proven he can play starter minutes. It’ll be a long list down to Hawes if the Mavs pass on Monroe, Gortat and Bosh. He’s a $4 million-type of player, while making $6.5 million last season.
KEVIN LOVE- 26 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 4.4 apg
1 star- This isn’t going to happen because to be honest, the Mavs just don’t have the assets the T’Wolves are looking for. We’re an old team, which is something Minnesota is trying to stay away from. I think Love could play the center, but it might take him a while to play it effectively on a consistent basis. He’s not going to be the power because it would mean Dirk has to play off the bench or play the five and Dirk is too old and not strong enough to play center. Love can’t play the small because he will get beat on defense by the likes of James, Durant, Melo, Paul George, etc. With the Mavs owning the 34th and 51st picks in this year’s draft, it won’t please anyone unless Mavs dip into future picks. Golden State and Denver have made enticing offers for Love.
TYSON CHANDLER- 9.6 ppg, 8.7 rpg
2 stars- Chandler is in his final year of his contract with the Knicks during the 2014-15 season. With other good centers out there, it’d be best if the Mavs stayed away from Tyson for now. If they want him back, they should wait until next offseason. I love Chandler like any other Dallas fan, but it wouldn’t make much sense to dump off players when there are others in free agency. If they look at him, it would be much easier getting Chandler than Love.
JASON TERRY- 4.5 ppg, 1.6 apg (with Nets, didn’t play for Kings)
1 star- In all honesty, I wouldn’t want the Mavs to go out and make a trade this offseason. Terry has one more year before being a free agent and that’s when I think Dallas should bring back the Jet. One of the most beloved players in Dallas, Jet was traded to the Nets, with Pierce and KG, but then was traded to Sacramento for Marcus Thornton midway through last season. Terry was done for the season in February. Dallas is close to his heart as the Jet did his rehab in Big D.
My Draft Pick Steal:
Cleanthony Early- Wichita State