The Mavericks have been very busy this offseason. As reported last week, the Mavs have contacted Luol Deng, Trevor Ariza, Chandler Parsons, Paul Pierce, and even some guy named Melo. But as free agency progresses and the target list shortens, who is the Mavericks #1 Option?
An argument can be made that Luol Deng and Trevor Ariza are better fits for the Mavericks. In fact, the Mavs may even prefer one of those two if it wasn’t for their age. Speculated to be looking for contracts averaging $10-12M per year or more, Ariza and Deng, both age 29, could push the Mavericks into the arms of a younger man.
At age 25, Chandler Parsons offers greater potential than the Deng or Ariza options. He’s considered a better offensive weapon already and a developing defender. If the Mavs are going to throw big money at a free agent, picking a 25 year old with loads of potential is a pretty good way to go.
Ariza and Deng certainly aren’t over the hill. At 29 they are still in their physical primes. But locking up a 25 year old would essentially give the Mavs the inside track on a second contract. A second contract for Ariza or Deng (who would then be 33) just isn’t as desirable as a second contract for a twenty something Parsons.
Parsons averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4 assists per game with Houston last season. He’s a versatile and efficient scorer with some range. He has the ability to improve defensively and become a threat on both ends of the court. He won’t come cheap and will likely command a salary greater than the aforementioned two, but his age and potential should mitigate any concerns.
Yet still, Luol Deng offers the best short-term improvement of the lot. With his ability to score (without specifically called plays) and his lockdown defense, Deng is just what the Mavericks need.
But Parsons remains what many see as the Mavs #1 target.
The age plays a part. The potential plays a part. His marketability plays a part too. Bonus points for pissing off Houston by taking one of their guys (only a year removed from when they so politely offered to take Dirk off our hands).
Whatever is the driving force, the Mavs are fixed in on Chandler Parsons right now. Houston isn’t going to let him walk away without a fight and have threatened to match any offer given. Maybe that’s what the Mavs want. Perhaps the Mavs are interested in driving up his value just to saddle Houston with another cumbersome contract.
Assuming the Mavericks’ interest is sincere they could certainly do worse than sign young deveopling talent. Young talent is exactly what attracts superstars in the first place. The Mavs will be on the hunt for a superstar again in 2015, and having a 26 year old Parsons may sound more attractive than a 30 year old Deng.
While that statement could certainly be debated, what can’t be debated is the Mavs interest in Parsons. Free Agency is about to get exciting…