The Dallas Mavericks have cap space and their interest in Quincy Pondexter could have been a tip of the hat towards their plans.
In what many classified as one of the most surprising moves in free agency, Nerlens Noel placed a bet on himself and decided to take the qualifying offer in Dallas for $4.1 million.
Noel made a decision that results in him hitting unrestricted free agency next summer, but also gives Dallas some unexpected cap space (around $12 million) to work with heading into training camp.
Does Dallas use their open cap space to go after an available free agent like JaMychal Green or Nikola Mirotic? Do they hold on to the cap space all year? Do they use it in a bigger trade at the trade deadline? Do they use it to gain other assets?
On Thursday, they could have tip their hat to what they are considering.
David Aldridge is referring to the trade that had just taken place between the New Orleans Pelicans and Chicago Bulls.
New Orleans sent a second round pick and Quincy Pondexter to Chicago in exchange for draft rights to Ater Majok. Basically, a financial clearing deal for New Orleans to give them more cap space.
New Orleans, after losing Solomon Hill for the season, looked around the league for teams with cap space as they were looking for a suitor to take on the expiring contract of Pondexter so they could have more flexibility with their roster. Once they found a taker, they had to attach an asset in the second round pick for Chicago to take on the contract.
With Aldridge reporting that Dallas was in talks with New Orleans also, it looks as if Dallas could be playing the asset gaining game with their remaining cap space.
Could Dallas use their cap space to take on a contract with a first round pick attached?
That might be difficult to do, but you never know how desperate some teams might get once the season gets underway. Then consider how cap space might be tight next summer and teams might be even more motivated to get out from under a contract.
If Dallas does take on a contract, they would then have two options: waive the player immediately and net the draft pick or net the draft pick & keep the player on the roster.
Are there any situations that are worth monitoring for the Mavs at this point in the season?
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Boston is intriguing with Al Horford just in case they swing for the fences again for another star player like Anthony Davis. They would then need to move Horford’s contract and maybe attach a pick with it. But I’m not sure Dallas would absorb a large contract like that.
Miami could be active on the market and has an expiring contract in Wayne Ellington that could open up $6.2 million cap space.
Milwaukee is really intriguing as they have the expiring contract of Greg Monroe at around $17 million. They also have John Henson and Mirza Teletovic on multi-year deals for around $10 million a year that could warrant a first round pick attached.
You always have Portland hanging around with their horrific cap situation.
There is also the possibility of Dallas coming in as a third team in a bigger trade to take on a bigger contract with an asset attached. In that case, it’s impossible to predict what could happen come the trade deadline.
Either way, Dallas has a plethora of options and flexibility with their cap space and it looks like they will be sitting on it for the time being.