Which Free Agent Should the Dallas Mavericks Pursue?

Feb 28, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban gestures during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 28, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban gestures during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

With numerous glaring holes to fill, which free agents should the Dallas Mavericks pursue?

The Dallas Mavericks have an unfortunate history of missing out on big name free agents. Offseason after offseason, Mark Cuban goes after the best players he can find on the market, and in recent history his efforts haven’t been successful.

As this offseason begins and Mavs fans hope to end the trend, let’s look at some of the big name players available whom they could pursue:

Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets

2015-2016 stats: 13.7 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.6 blocks

Summary: Dwight Howard, at 6’11” and 265 lbs, is a freak athlete despite him being past his prime. He is a great defensive presence in the paint and can rebound with anyone in the NBA. With a limited arsenal of moves, he is less proficient as a scorer. However, he can use his above the rim play to get plenty of garbage buckets, put backs, and alley oops.

Fit: Dwight Howard is almost assuredly leaving Houston, and Chandler Parsons has said that he will assist in luring him to Dallas. He would surely be an improvement on the Mavs current stable of centers. However, rumors that he is immature and a bad locker room presence have plagued him throughout his entire career, and that didn’t improve after the Rockets’ locker room was toxic this past season. Fans are divided on whether they even want Howard in Dallas, but our very own Kohl Rast argues that the Mavs should pursue the big man this offseason.

Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks

2015-2016 stats: 15.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.5 blocks

Summary: Al Horford had another solid season for the Hawks in 2016 and is now on the free agent market. He is a talented scorer, with the capability to stretch the floor from the center position. He is a solid rebounder and defender as well. There is no reported discord between big Al and Atlanta’s front office, so in all likelihood he will resign with the Hawks.

Fit: Should Horford come to Dallas, he and Dirk Nowitzki would make one of the most formidable post-scoring duos in the NBA. Rick Carlisle would have a field day finding new ways to use him, and opposing teams would have a huge headache attempting to guard the Mavs. He would be a corner stone for the Mavericks future and perhaps make Dallas viable contenders next season if things go well.

Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies

2015-2016 stats: 15.3 points, 6.1 assists, 1.2 steals

Summary: Mike Conley is a talented PG who can put the ball in the bucket as well as find open teammates and run an offense. He is also a gritty defender, a skill which the Mavs desperately need playing in the West against players like Steph Curry, Chris Paul, and Damian Lillard to name a few.

Fit: While Conley would certainly be an upgrade from Deron Williams, should Williams resign with Dallas, the point guard spot wouldn’t really be a position in need of an upgrade. However, should Williams find a home elsewhere, Conley would be a great fit in Dallas and a welcome addition. A Conley-Wesley Mathews backcourt would give Dallas one of the best defensive backcourts in the entire NBA.

Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat

2015-2016 stats: 14.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.7 blocks

Summary: Hassan Whiteside is a young up-and-coming Center in the NBA who can score the ball and rebound. He is an exceptional defender, perhaps the best paint defender in the NBA, and still has room for development as his career progresses.

Fit: Whiteside is a formidable interior defender which the Mavs could put to great use, and of course would fill a great position of need at Center. Should Whiteside decide to leave Miami, which isn’t a guarantee at all, Dallas should aggressively pursue him.

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If the Mavs’ front office could sign just one of these free agents, I would be thrilled. Dallas is right on the hinge of being a pretty serious contender next season. If we continue to see such stellar play from Dirk, then any one of these players would put the Mavericks right in the hunt. As a Mavs fan, I’m crossing my fingers for a busy offseason.