Armed with a huge cap space and the commitment of veteran star to take a big pay cut, the Dallas Mavericks, behind the deep pockets of owner Mark Cuban are considered major players in this offseason.
When July 1 arrives expect the Mavericks to pursue two big name stars in Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers and Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks according to Marc Stein of ESPN.COM.
Free-agent whisper one week out: Mavs not only expect to have chance to make face-to-face pitch to Melo but also plan to pursue Pau Gasol
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 22, 2014
How Does It Work?
For the 2014-2015 payroll, the Mavericks have about $27.41M committed to just eight players. The key names here are shooting guard Monta Ellis ($8.72M) and Jose Calderon ($7.10M) and that can jump to roughly $31.0M if they pick up the “team option” on center Samuel Dalembert for over $3M (a likely scenario).
For next season, the salary cap is pegged to be around $63M so Dallas have around $30 million plus to work with in this offseason.
The German big man has an expiring contract of $22M but with his previous announcement that he’ll re-sign with Dallas for less—a shout-out to the selfish Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers—it is possible that he settles for around $12M to $15 to accommodate other star players to the Dallas fold.
The targets and probable offers: $27M for three years for Gasol ($9 per year) and $90M for 4 years for Anthony ($22.5M per year).
Dallas will have no problem shooting over the cap as they went past it with $77M last season—shout out to Cuban and his cash.
Will It Work?
In the age of superteams—shout out to LeBron James and the LeBronettes in Miami—this could work especially in the tough and deep Western Conference.
The downside for Dallas is that the pair of moves could mean letting go of Shawn Marion and Vince Carter—serviceable players last season. Then again, upgrading to a Gasol and Anthony should be a better option.
A starting line-up of Calderon/Ellis/Anthony/Nowitzki/Gasol is indeed scary offensively but they leaves much to be desired on the other end; who is going to be the defensive stopper? How weak is that Nowitzki/Gasol frontcourt? And will this be a case of “too-much-offense-and-not-enough-defense”?
What is the Most Likely Scenario?
Head coach is a known defensive guru but had to make do with a defensively-challenged line-up last season. They pushed the eventual NBA champions to full seven games in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs so there’s something to build on from that group.
So while the Mavericks are reportedly chasing BOTH Gasol and Anthony it appears that they will seriously consider only one and spend the extra money to target a defensive-minded player—either resigning Marion or finding a similar player via free agency.
Exciting times ahead for Dallas with an open wallet this offseason—will they spend it wisely? And will free agents be attracted to playing in Texas?
July 1 is officially the start of free agency period in the NBA.