With the NBA salary cap preparing to make a huge jump and individual contracts expected to do the same thing, what kind of position does that put the Dallas Mavericks in?
The Dallas Mavericks are not expected to have any shortage of money this offseason. With only 6 players under contract and a major salary cap increase league wide, the Mavs could go a number of different directions with the money available.
I am no expert in the world of NBA contracts and salary caps by any means. The Bird rights and early bird rights and mid-level exceptions are confusing enough as is, but I am hoping that I’m not the only one that has this issue.
For this reason, I thought I would try to help out with all those curious on just how much the Mavericks will have available to spend this summer. Keep in mind that these figures will be based off of the reports earlier in the year that all three of our player options in Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, and Deron Williams will be opting out for a new contract.
With Wesley Matthews, J.J. Barea, and a few others locked down for the upcoming season, the Mavericks will likely have just over $60 million to play with. The exact total is expected to be $61,315,955 but it is unclear due to the fact that the expected salary cap has not been approved yet.
This amount is near the top in the league as far as available cap space, only behind the L.A. Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers. With this much free money and an owner not afraid to spend it, this could be a unique offseason.
But what kind of options do the Mavericks have with all that money?
Firstly, we can definitely plan on the return of Dirk. Although he is seeking for another championship, he is a Maverick for life and he knows that as well as we do. However, signing him to a team friendly deal may not be a guarantee.
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If Dirk catches wind of a rebuild, his contract could skyrocket and we may be owing him a lot of money. If we plan to continue competing though, another pay cut could be in order. For the sake of speculation, lets just assume he signs another 2-year $16 million deal. Almost the same as the current contract he is on.
Take $8 million out of the $60ish we have started with and we still need to fill 5 roster spots with $52 mil. (I say 5 more spots to fill due to the fact that rosters are based on a 12-man active roster but a 15-man full roster, thus taking the 12 players that would be active). Then we start worrying about Chandler Parsons and the amount we are going to need to fork over to keep him around.
In my opinion, it would be shocking to see Parsons in any uniform that does not say Dallas on it next year. He and Cuban get along, he is a better than average wing player and has a lot of potential still there. He is going to come with a hefty price tag though.
Expected to see an offer of somewhere between $20-$22 million a year, Parsons and Dirk together could take away half of our available cap. Still in need of a starting point guard and center with that money left, things get interesting.
If we return Deron Williams to the team as the starting point guard, he may not be the elite guard we are hoping for, but he is far better than most of the alternatives that are truly possible. Add that to the fact that he may come at a team friendly deal and we have a good chance. Lets estimate around $10 mil which may be pretty generous.
With $20 million to spare and 4 players short of a roster, Dallas needs to start thinking about a center. Centers are becoming more of a hot commodity and there are a lot of capable centers entering free agency this summer as well.
Before we jump into the starting center spot, let’s take a quick peak at the rest of the players the Mavs may let walk this summer. Charlie Villanueva will be gone. Zaza Pachulia will most likely be gone as well. That leaves Dallas to figure out what to do with Raymond Felton, David Lee, and Dwight Powell.
Let’s start with Dwight Powell. Powell is a restricted free agent who could benefit a Mavs team with questionable depth down low. However, he is not worth much money. Don’t expect the Mavericks to match a deal worth more than a few million.
David Lee might be too expensive for Dallas to hold on to. Although he is coming off some rough years, his time in Dallas proved that he still has a lot in the tank, just needs to be in the right system. Someone will probably throw money at him.
That leaves the curious case of Raymond Felton. Felton played excellent for the Mavs all season and will want a big contract. If Dallas keeps him around, which I believe they should, he may get upwards of $8-$9 mil/year. That would give us roughly $12 million to work with.
At this point, I believe Dallas needs to spend the remaining money on a center. With $12 million, the Mavericks miss out on the top tier guys like Andre Drummond, Hassan Whiteside, or Al Horford. Al Jefferson, Dwight Howard, and Pau Gasol would both probably be out of the pay range as well.
Someone like Joakim Noah, Ian Mahinmi, or Timofey Mozgov could be potential options but probably nit the type of player we are looking for. Bismack Biyombo and Dwight Howard would better fit the build of the a player we are aiming for, but may come at a higher price tag.
Let’s speculate and say somehow we can land a player like Biyombo for a $12 million dollar deal. That will leave us 3 players short of a roster with no money left. That means minimum salaries and mid-level exceptions to finish out the roster.
The Dallas Mavericks have their work cut out for them this offseason and will need to be sure to make the right moves to get a playoff caliber team on the court. This will consist of a lot of difficult contracts that need to be discussed quickly to build the roster.
I apologize for the confusion any of this added on to the already confusing salary cap in the NBA, but hopefully it gives you an understanding of what position Dallas will be in this summer. Stay up to date with all free agency coverage with us here at The Smoking Cuban.