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The ’16 salary cap bump and your Dallas Mavericks

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In 2016, two offseasons from now, the NBA salary cap will experience a one time, massive increase of something like 25 million dollars in advance of a new TV deal kicking in. In my opinion, it couldn’t come at a better time for the Dallas Mavericks.

Dallas sports teams—at least the Mavericks, Cowboys, and Rangers—have all recently become experts at seeming reasonable. This is inexplicable in the case of the Cowboys, who probably had to tie Jerry Jones to a water pipe in the basement to keep him from picking Johnny Manziel over Zack Martin last year, but it’s true, and we’ve seen it in the recent DeMarco Murray negotiations.

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The Dallas media has also become very good at this, lauding the teams’ sensible approaches, praising their intelligence and savvy. The problem with this intelligence and savvy is that the only guys who take a little less and help the team out and act like a “team player” are guys like Dirk Nowitzki, at the end of a career defined by the uniform which incidentally saw him, at one point, as the second most expensive player in the game.

Nor should it be any different. Sports lives are short, and often cut shorter. Savings, such as they are, don’t go to you or me they go to owners who are for the most part way richer than players. And so, the Rangers, Cowboys, and Mavericks, have been in the habit of losing. Losing guys like Josh Hamilton is great. I’d do it again tomorrow. But…

Who knows what would have happened if Steve Nash stayed. I do know that the two times in his career, Dirk has been flanked by an effective center, he’s made an NBA finals (Damp, in 2006, had, for example, a 2.8 defensive win share, not much off Tyson Chandler’s 3.5 in 2011. What happened to him after is anyone’s guess). But they let Tyson go, then brought him back for the exact year of his contract they were so dreading having to pay.

It is, as a management strategy, a lot, lot better than spending wildly. Ask the Knicks. Ask the Nets. But it has its downfalls. Everyone who’s talking about how easy it will be to replace DeMarco Murray is about to have a wake up call. And that’s true even if DeMarco physically explodes next year. It can both be a serious risk to keep a guy and an even more serious one not to.

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All this is a way of saying something very simple: the best case scenario, for the massive salary cap hike that the league will undergo in the 2016 offseason is that it saves the Mavericks from themselves.

Next year, Monta and Tyson Chandler will both be unrestricted free agents, as will Rondo who, if he keeps playing like he did against OKC, might suddenly find that crowds can change their minds.

In an ordinary year the Mavericks would look at Tyson and Monta and see two players who are big risks. Monta, at 30, isn’t likely to stop being an effective player in the next few years but his defense has always made him a tough guy to build around. Tyson is proving basically every game how silly it was for the Mavericks to have let him go, but he’ll be 33 and a 13 year vet when the season starts next year.

And the Mavs would say “we’ll come up with a fair offer and hope their team spirit sways them.” And the scribes will say “this is a really good idea, those guys should prove they’re team players, recognize they’re risks, and take below market deals.” And those guys will leave for teams who want to pay them what they’re worth.

But thanks to this one time deal, the Mavericks at least can pay those guys, even Rondo, whatever it takes and if it fills up every inch of cap space, they’ll still have a guaranteed 20-25 million dollars free the next offseason to re-sign Parsons–who will almost certainly opt out of the last year of his deal– and whoever else.

Next: By the Numbers: Mavs Edge Thunder at Home

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