Letting Raymond Felton Walk to Los Angeles
After a rejuvenated year for Raymond Felton in Dallas, he found himself heading to Los Angeles in free agency. But did Dallas make the right move in letting him go?
After coming over in a trade with Tyson Chandler a couple of years ago, Felton never seemed to get into a groove as he battled for minutes and a lingering ankle issue. He finished the 2014-15 season playing in just 29 games while averaging just under 10 minutes a game.
Last year, Felton made it known very quick that a different story was about to be written.
Felton came into camp healthier than ever and quickly made an impression on Rick Carlisle and the coaching staff. From his impressive play in the preseason to his leadership on the court with the younger guys, Felton was due for a rejuvenated season.
Fast forwarding through the 2015-16 season, Felton finished the season logging the third most minutes on the team behind just Dirk Nowitzki and Wesley Matthews. In averaging over 27 minutes a game, Felton appeared in 80 games during the regular season and all five playoff games as Dallas finished 6th in the Western Conference.
Felton simply did everything he was asked of last season. He started off the season as the 6th man scoring punch off the bench. As the season went along, it was Felton that would fill in as a starter at both guard positions when injuries took place. When Chandler Parsons went down, it was Felton that was inserted into the starting lineup as they moved Matthews to small forward.
So with Felton having one of the better seasons of his career, why didn’t he return to Dallas?
Dallas was in a unique situation this offseason as swinging for the fences with bigger free agents was once again the main objective. One of those bigger names was Mike Conley, who was undoubtedly the best free agent point guard on the market.
With Dallas having just SIX players under contract heading into the summer, the roster could have went in a plethora of directions based off some free agent decisions. But with Conley choosing to remain in Memphis, Dallas decided to bring back their starting point guard last year in Deron Williams.
But what do they do with Raymond Felton?
Unlike previous years in Dallas, the Mavericks decided to go in a different direction this summer when filling out the rotation and roster…and Felton didn’t fit the bill.
Dallas switched things up this summer by adding younger talent to the roster in the form of their role players. Instead of chasing aging veterans on the back half of their careers, they went after young veterans who are still growing in their careers.
Besides signing the 24-year old Harrison Barnes to a max contract, Dallas decided to bring back the 24-year old Dwight Powell on his own four-year deal. They also went out and signed 25-year old Quincy Acy as another young body to bolster the front court.
The decision that impacted Felton the most was Dallas signing 25-year old Seth Curry to a two-year deal. Already having Williams, Harris, and Barea on the roster, all aging guards, Dallas decided to add a younger guard who is just starting to scratch the surface.
Dallas let Pachulia (31), McGee (28), Evans (28), Lee (32), Villanueva (31), Parsons (27) and Felton (32) all go over the summer.
Their replacements all signal the sign of new times in Dallas.
Besides Bogut (31), Dallas added Barnes (24), Curry (25), Acy (25), and Hammons (23). They also locked in Powell (24) long-term and handed out four other camp invites to players under the age of 28.
Some questioned that Felton would desire or require a multi-year contract that Dallas would be unwilling to pay, but after the contract he signed in Los Angeles, it was clear that money wasn’t the issue (unless he was requiring more money from Dallas to stay).
To most, the deal with the Clips signaled everything towards the younger direction that Dallas was going this summer. That no matter how cheap, Dallas was moving on to a younger option that could grow into something bigger.
Next: Joke's On You, Harrison Barnes is a Gold Medalist
For fans, it was a bittersweet summer in regards to Felton as the fanbase in Dallas had grown to love him over the course of the year. His tenacity on both ends of the court and impressive late game play brought energy to the crowd.
Raymond Felton will be missed in Dallas, but a new agenda in Dallas is starting to take form.