Money will be tight for the Dallas Mavericks this summer but nothing should stand in their way of affording an outside free agent.
Free agency is soon upon us and the Dallas Mavericks will likely be players in the marketplace once again. Who they target exactly remains to be seen. That will likely be contingent upon what players are realistically on the market.
Regardless, we can all bet that Mark Cuban and the Mavericks brain trust will be aggressively pursuing someone. Despite committing to the rebuilding effort, the Mavs are still looking for that ready-made star in free agency. And as they’ve shown with Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews, they have no problem overpaying for a star.
But pressed so closely against the cap already, will the Mavs be able to afford a star player?
Maybe not at this moment but there are things that can be done that would allow them to sign virtually anyone they want. The easiest move is opting out of Dirk Nowitzki’s deal and rearranging the money to free up some capitol (perhaps even extending him another year).
"“There hasn’t been much talk,” Dirk said about his contract. “There’s a team opt-out but they haven’t told me if that’s what they’re going to do, if that’s the route they’re going to take. Mark [Cuban] is vacationing and I’m sure when he gets back we’ll sit down and see what’s best.”"
Another option would be trading a player like Wes Mathews. Matthews is on the books for $17,884,175 next season and a player option year in 2018. Despite the high ticket price, Matthews still has value in this league as a strong two-way player and leader. Trading him to make room for a younger player would benefit the Mavs who know they are early in their rebuilding endeavor.
Other tradable commodities aren’t so easy to find on the Mavs. Dwight Powell costs and arm and a leg but he’s not very tradeable and we all know Harrison Barnes isn’t going anywhere. But the point is if the Mavs are interested in adding a max player, things can be done.
The biggest obstacle in this is effectively luring a free agent to Dallas. The Mavs have been flush with cash before and have been unable to convince their primary targets to sign. To find an interested one now but to be unable to afford him would be a cruel twist of fate. But while the cap situation doesn’t look great on paper, it’s a workable situation for Cubes and GM Donnie Nelson.
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Job No. 1 will obviously be retaining their own soon-to-be max free agent, Nerlens Noel. Once they get him on board they will no doubt look more attractive to others and potentially take the next step in their rebuilding effort.