12 Worst free agent signings in Mavericks history
4. Raef LaFrentz
The Mavs traded for LaFrentz in 2002 in a deal that brought Nick Van Exel, Avery Johnson, and Tariq Abdul-Wahad to Dallas. They were fresh off their first playoff appearance in more than a decade, and the Mavericks were hoping to go further than the second round in year two. Young Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash were blossoming into superstars, and Dallas needed a bit more talent.
LaFrentz became a free agent in the summer of 2002, but the Mavs were not letting him get away. The max contract was seven years for $84 million, and Dallas gave him seven years for $70 million. It was a massive signing for a player entering his fifth NBA season that had dealt with foul issues in recent years.
LaFrentz was by no means a star player, but he was a stretch five that could score 13 points per game, protect the rim, and rebound well. The Mavericks viewed him as a key piece next to Dirk Nowitzki, but the frontcourt partnership lasted just one year before LaFrentz was traded to Boston along with a first-round pick and two players for Antoine Walker and Tony Delk.
The Dallas Mavericks massively overpaid to keep Raef LaFrentz after the trade, and they quickly realized their error and moved on.