The plan was for these guys, along with Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis and a solid bench to nab a top four seed in a loaded Western Conference and potentially make a nice playoff run. Even if they didn’t win the title, Dallas would have the ability to bring that core back for a few more years, and that would be who they’d go with for Dirk’s last year.
That didn’t workout, and now Dallas is looking at a fifth consecutive offseason of roster turnover after losing in five games to the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs. I’ve detailed why the Rondo thing didn’t work, and we all know he isn’t coming back. But there are plenty of other players who may be elsewhere next year as well.
Ellis has a player option for next season and will likely opt out to look for a bigger contract. The same goes for Al-Farouq Aminu, who probably earned himself more money after the way he performed in the playoffs. Chandler’s contract is expiring, and Amar’e Stoudemire and J.J. Barea will be a free agents as well. The only players that we know are under contract for next year are Nowitzki, Parsons, Devin Harris and Raymond Felton.
So, where do they go from here?
First off, I don’t think Ellis is coming back unless it’s on a one year deal, and Rondo is definitely not returning. So, Dallas will need to construct a new back court, but first on to everything else.
It’s still all about landing a big name free agent for Dallas, and one on the list is DeAndre Jordan. The center from Texas A&M University transformed into one of the best bigs in the league this season with Clippers, averaging 11.5 points per game, 15 rebounds and 2.2 blocks.
Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas reported earlier in the week that Jordan is interested in coming to Dallas, and it would be a great young, foundational piece for the Dallas Mavericks to get. Dallas would have to let Chandler walk again, but getting Jordan would be worth it.
The thing this scenario is, I don’t think Jordan can be the best player on a contender. Second best, probably, but not the best. At this point, the Mavs are trying to win, or a come close, to winning a title in Dirk’s last years. Jordan as their best player seem like a fit there, in that sense. Right now, Dallas is looking for someone who can be a superstar that can lead them back to a title.
The ideal player for the Mavs is Dallas native LaMarcus Aldridge. The Blazers free agent will have a bunch of suitors like the Spurs, Lakers and Knicks, but the Mavs will be in the market for his services.
Let’s say they convince Aldridge to sign for as much as they can offer. The best case scenario would be for them to then re-sign Chandler at a potential discounted rate, and slide Nowitzki over to the bench. Dirk has said he would be willing to accept a bench role, and, at this stage of his career, it is probably for the best.
After that, the Dallas Mavericks would need to focus on their backcourt. I doubt Ellis will return, and the Mavs won’t overpay for him. My dream is for Dallas to nab Danny Green to fill out the starting shooting guard spot. Green is a strong three-point shooter and floor spacer, and a solid wing defender, two things that aren’t Ellis’ specialty. Wes Mathews would fit the bill here as well, and could come at a discounted rate coming off an Achillies injury.
It’s a bit more complicated at point guard. Goran Dragic, Reggie Jackson and Brandon Knight are all free agents, but Dallas may not be able to afford them depending on what they do. If they sign Jordan, the Mavs will probably have the space to potentially offer one of those three.
But if they go the Aldridge route, the best thing for the Mavs might honestly do point guard by committee with Harris, Barea and Felton. It’s not ideal, but at least they know how to run the offense. There has been talk about trading for someone like Ty Lawson, but the Mavs simply have NOTHING to offer.
So, if this offseason goes like I want the Mavs starting lineup would be: Harris, Green, Parsons, Aldridge and Chandler with Dirk, Aminu, Barea and others rounding out the bench unit.
Again, this is all purely speculation. Aldridge seems like a long shot, but the Mavs will surely try. Jordan is a possibility, but who knows what can happen between now and July 1. There’s a lot of different ways Dallas could go, and I’ll do my best to map them all out over the offseason.
For now, I just hope that this is the last summer where the Mavs are trying to completely change their roster.