What if Dallas Lands Harrison Barnes, Then What?

Jan 27, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Salah Mejri (50) attempts to gain control of a rebound in front of Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes (40) in the first quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 27, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Salah Mejri (50) attempts to gain control of a rebound in front of Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes (40) in the first quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /

So what if Dallas does indeed land Harrison Barnes on a max contract, then where do they turn to round out the roster?

After notably missing out on all of the big fish once again, Dallas has reportedly turned their attention to restrict free agent Harrison Barnes and offering the 24-year old a max contract offer.

If Dallas and Barnes do come to an agreement, Golden State will have three days to match from the time the contract is signed, thus putting Golden State in a tricky situation while they continue to wait for Kevin Durant to make his decision.

Many people around the league expect Golden State to match the offer if Durant does indeed go somewhere else, making the possibility of Barnes being in Dallas a slim chance. But what if Durant does indeed pick Golden State or Golden State decides not to match the offer either way?

What if Harrison Barnes does indeed end up with Dallas, then what?

If Barnes comes into Dallas on a max deal, he would be slated to make just over $22 million next year.

“Harrison Barnes will tie up $22.2 million of the Mavs’ cap space. The Mavs still have about $26 million in available space with cap holds on Dirk Nowitzki and Dwight Powell.” –ESPN’s Tim MacMahon

That means Dallas would have Harrison Barnes, J.J. Barea, Devin Harris, Salah Mejri, Justin Anderson, Jeremy Evans, Wesley Matthews, and eventually A.J. Hammons. Then you have the cap holds for Nowitzki and Powell.

This would leave $26 million to go in a couple of different directions over the next couple of weeks in finding a starting point guard and center.

Option 1: The Trade Route

With a plethora of players on the trade market combined with teams still sitting on cap space, teams could look to shed contracts off their rosters to go into another team’s cap space.

Names that could be on the trade market is Greg Monroe, Michael Carter-Williams, Rudy Gay, Ricky Rubio, Nikola Vucevic, Amir Johnson, Josh McRoberts, Andrew Bogut, Kenneth Faried, Omer Asik, Enes Kanter, and Tyson Chandler just to name a few(?).

In my opinion, this will be the route that Dallas will take next if they land Barnes.

Even though Dallas does not have much to offer, they could take advantage of one of these teams simply trying to unload a contract off their books.

If Dallas was willing to include valuable picks and/or one of their veteran guards, they could land them a starting center for next year. Considering the Mavericks assets, the only player on this list that I would assume they couldn’t land would be Nikola Vucevic.

Realistically, I could see Dallas trying to land Andrew Bogut, Tyson Chandler, and possibly Greg Monroe over the next week.

Option 2: Bring Back the Vets

Interestingly enough, Chandler Parsons is the only free agent Dallas has lost last season. Going a step farther, the rotation that led the Mavs to a strong end to the season resulting in the 6th seed out West could all be brought back.

Deron Williams is still on the market with zero rumors surrounding his name. You have to assume that his desire is to return to his hometown in Dallas and finish his career.

There have been teams linked to Raymond Felton over the past couple of days, but he is still holding out, probably for Dallas.

Zaza Pachulia was very open about the great time he had in Dallas last season and the friendship he formed with Dirk Nowitzki. Still unsigned, the veteran big man is still looking to see where Dallas turns.

They put a qualifying offer on Dwight Powell, making him a restricted free agent. With Dallas striking out so far, I would imagine Powell will be brought back on a reasonable deal.

Dirk Nowitzki, he will be back.

Option 3: The Remaining Free Agents

Option 3 would technically include option 2 also, but this would result in other remaining players that Dallas could bring in.

At the point guard spot, players such as Brandon Jennings and Seth Curry are still available. The market has dried up thin, so outside bringing back former Mavs, it could be difficult.

The wing spot is not the greatest of needs with Justin Anderson capable of starting at the three, but they could take anyone at this point. Dion Waiters, Moe Harkless, and Lance Stephenson are all wings still available.

Up front, there is actually some quality free agents left on the market with Pau Gasol, Festus Ezeli (restricted), Meyers Leonard (restricted) and more.

With three days passing in free agency, the market has almost completely dried up, especially for Dallas. The possibility of Dallas improving their roster drastically through the remaining free agents is pretty much impossible.

It’s a long shot, but Dallas still has a shot at putting together a competitive roster, but it all starts with Harrison Barnes.

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After that, I would expect Dallas to sign back Deron Williams as the starting point guard and work the trade market for a starting center. If Dallas could get their hands on an Andrew Bogut or Tyson Chandler, the Mavs could actually trot out a competitive lineup while still having some cap space to fill out the roster.

Best realistic case scenario at this point would put the Mavs roster looking like this:

PG: Deron Williams, Barea, Free agent

SG: Matthews, Harris, Free agent

SF: Barnes, Anderson

PF: Nowitzki, Powell, Evans

C: Trade Target Center, Mejri, Hammons

Probably not a contender, but still a competitive roster to keep Dirk happy in his last couple of years.