The Dallas Mavericks had been relatively quiet during their 2014 offseason until they took a cannonball into the fray on Wednesday. A day ahead of the 2014 NBA Draft, the Mavericks traded center Sam Dalembert and guards Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin and Wayne Ellington and the Mavericks’ two second-round picks for New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler and point guard Raymond Felton.
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That has the Mavericks in a better position to attract a “big fish” free agent with an improved line up. Chandler fills a big void for them at center, one they’ve been trying to fill since he left for New York after their 2011 Championship season.
The Mavericks now have $26.5 million in cap space and are expected to be big players in the free agent market, a class headlined by Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. Trading for Chandler while pursuing Carmelo is a shrewd move because Chandler knows both the Mavericks and Carmelo well, and while teams can’t make pitches to players till July 1, Chandler can call Carmelo as much as he wants.
Chandler isn’t the only one who will try to sell the Mavericks to either Anthony or James, superstar power forward Dirk Nowitzki will make the sales pitch as well.
From Marc J. Spears of Yahoo:
"Nowitzki said he would be willing to help the Mavs in their efforts to recruit James, Anthony and other free agents."
“I was active the last couple of years, but it didn’t do anything,” Nowitzki said. “I was active with D-Will and he stayed [with the Nets]. I flew to L.A. last year to meet with Dwight and he went to Houston. I guess they don’t like me much.”
But now he has a clean slate, and a stronger team to pitch to James and Anthony.
“All the teams with cap room got to try [to sign James],” Nowitzki said. “He’s the best player in the league right now. If he’s a free agent – which obviously doesn’t happen very often that the best player in the league is a free agent – than you got to obviously go at it. I don’t know what our chances are, but you at least have to try.”
On Anthony, Nowitzki said: “He can score with the best of them. If that’s really a possibility, than we’d love to have him.”