The Dallas Mavericks have another huge offseason in front of them. In fact, if everyone who is eligible to opt out of their contract opts out, the Mavs would only have Dirk Nowitzki, Devin Harris, and Chandler Parsons as guaranteed players for next year. Monta Ellis, the high-scoring starting shooting guard for the Mavs the last two seasons, is one of the many free agents the team has this year, and many believe that he play elsewhere next year.
While reports have said that Monta Ellis will opt out of his 3 year, $25 million contract, it’s not a certainty that he won’t be in a Mavericks uniform next season. However, given his success with Dallas the last two seasons, Ellis is likely in for a pay raise, and while other teams will surely give him attractive offers, the Mavs might be unable to give Ellis the money he desires.
While I would prefer the Mavs to retain Monta and add a decent 3-D point guard to start alongside him, the reality is that he may leave, and in that case, the Mavs will have to look for another starting shooting guard through free agency or a trade. The former is the much more likely scenario, so let’s look at what free agent shooting guards are available for the Mavs to target:
Danny Green, the Spurs’ starting shooting guard, is one option for the Mavs to replace Monta if he leaves. Green is a solid 3-D player with championship experience. He is capable of changing a game with his hot perimeter shooting and can slow down elite scorers. He doesn’t have much of a driving game, he isn’t close to the scorer Monta Ellis is and he disappears in games at times, but he would definitely be a valuable replacement and wouldn’t cost too much money either.
Wesley Matthews Jr., the Portland Trailblazers starting shooting guard, is another option for the Mavericks. Matthews, a Texas native, is a 3-D guard like Green, and he’s hungry for a championship, not being able to get past the second round. Matthews is another hot three point shooter who can change the momentum of games, and he can be a real pest on defense, especially to players like James Harden and Klay Thompson. He will likely demand around $8 million a year, which is what Monta was getting paid for the past two seasons. However, Matthews suffered an achilles injury against Dallas this past season, and we don’t know if he will still be the same player he was before his devastating injury.
DeMarre Carroll, the Atlanta Hawks starting small forward, is looking more and more enticing as these playoffs go on. Carroll, a small forward for the Hawks, could easily slide into the shooting guard role for Dallas, and he resembles a 2011 Deshawn Stevenson. He is probably the best defender out of him, Green and Matthews, and his scoring ability and three point shooting have immensely improved this season in the Hawks breakout year. Carroll is also getting valuable playoff experience this year, and he’s about to get tested by the best player on the planet, which is something the Mavericks can benefit from after these playoffs finish.
The Hawks will likely try hard to keep Carroll, and the Mavs would probably have to pay him more than Green or Matthews, but his upside would be worth it if can stay consistent. Carroll, for me, is the most enticing out of the three I’ve mentioned, and a tandem of him and Parsons at the 2 and 3 looks pretty awesome.
Again, I would prefer to keep Monta Ellis because continuity is big for a team looking to contend, but these three options are probably the best replacements the Mavs can get for their leading scorer, who might just want a bit too much money. They are all unrestricted, so this wouldn’t have to be another Parsons scenario, and they would all help what was an abysmal defense last year for the Mavericks.