Apr 23, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat forward Rashard Lewis (9) reacts against the Charlotte Bobcats in game two during the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Rashard Lewis Down; What Are The Mavericks' Options?

The latest news regarding the Mavericks is the revelation that recent signing, Rashard Lewis, requires knee surgery.

This is the second time in consecutive offseasons that something like this has happened with the Mavs. Last season, Devin Harris was all set to sign a three-year deal before news came out about a toe injury which busted him down to a one-year contract at the veteran’s minimum.

This time around though, there is no cheaper or shorter deal for Lewis to take, as his signing was for the veteran’s minimum to begin with. And with the backup power forward spot vacant without him, the Mavericks probably should look into invalidating the contract if possible, and fill the roster spot with another big man, especially if the injury knocks him out for a significant portion of the upcoming season.

While most of free agency has settled down and teams are now just filling out their rosters with minimum-salary players, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still players to be had who could help the Mavs. Amongst available big men, Emeka Okafor would provide the most bang for buck if he signs for the minimum. The former second overall pick in the draft would bring career averages of 12.3 points, 9.9 rebounds and a nightly double-double threat to whichever team he goes to.

Of course, there is a reason why such a player has yet to be picked up by anyone, even at the minimum. Okafor didn’t play a game last season due to a herniated disc in his neck, an injury which was discovered before the season started and led to Washington trading him to the Suns for Marcin Gortat and a first-round pick. There have been no updates so far on his recovery process, but one would think that a year off would mean that he’s healthy enough for a bench role now. The Mavs would do well to make some inquiries on his condition.

Andray Blatche would be another interesting option. The 27-year-old forward is fresh off a successful stint with the Brooklyn Nets, which has rehabilitated his image somewhat following his spotty time in Washington. He averaged 11.2 points and 5.3 rebounds in 22 minutes per game last season, solid numbers which he should be able to replicate in a similar role with the Mavericks. He would also likely be willing to come for cheap, as he continues his crusade in making the Wizards pay for amnestying him.

There are some other intriguing names which could provide value for money, such as bringing back Elton Brand, or taking a flyer on a younger prospect like Mike Scott. And of course, Shawn Marion is still a possibility, but given his desire to start, it’s getting less and less likely that he agrees to come back, at less money and in a smaller role. As such I feel that Okafor and Blatche would be good options to look into.

The Mavericks need a solid backup for Dirk. He’s getting older and needs his minutes rationed and reduced if he is to be as effective, especially come playoff time. Having Lewis out for any substantial amount of time is detrimental to that approach, and so I think the Mavs should try to see if they can bring in someone else.

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Tags: Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki Rashard Lewis

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