Say it ain't so! Finally, for the first time in our franchise history, our beloved Mavericks landed a dynamite defensive center, who eventually proved to be the missing piece in Dirk's Conan the Barbarian-like quest for the ultimate prize in pro basketball - the Larry O'Brien Trophy.
Not only is Chandler the best defensive center in the league not named Dwight Howard, but his infectious enthusiasm, toughness, positive attitude and vocal leadership were also crucial intangible qualities that played a key role in the Mavs' championship run.
It is for these reasons that news of Chandler looking elsewhere for a long term deal, and the Mavericks' reluctance to offer a big contract for Tyson is especially distressing for us MFFLs. However, I have come up with a potential spending plan which could allow us to keep Chandler while still remaining in the market for one of the big 2012 Free Agents (namely, Deron Williams - we know CP3 wants to go to New York, and we won't need Dwight with Tyson Chandler back).
My math (and my understanding of the new CBA and salary cap rules, minimum salaries, etc.) may be a little off, but this is my plan for how we could potentially keep most of our Championship core. Let me know if any figures are wrong/unrealistic.
Here we go:
Currently have: 10 guys under contract
Re sign: Chandler (12-14 mill a year) Peja (minimum*) Custodian (minimum) Deshawn (minimum)
Sign: Jeff Foster (minimum) OR a cheap but steady backup PG like Mike Bibby, Earl Watson, or even Delonte West (minimum)
*The minimum salary for veterans is roughly $1.2 million, and for guys like Peja and Cardinal I think we can bring them back on just one year deals.
Salary committed for 2012:
Currrently: 41.4 million
After signings/re-signings: approx 53-57 mill
After using amnesty clause (on either marion or haywood): 45-50 million
2012 salary cap: approx 60-62 mill
Mavericks cap room: anywhere between 10-17 million, and that's before you count salary dumps that they could do, such as trading guys like Brewer, Beaubois, Jones etc for draft picks/cash.
Basically if we prioritise signing Chandler (and go up to as much as 12.5-14 mill a year), and replace JJ and Butler's production with guys like Rudy and Brewer, we can still contend this year AND have enough room to bid for Deron Williams.
We all love JJ Barea, and Tuff Juice is a great player too, but basically, this is the sacrifice we have to make if we want to both keep our core together while maintaining some degree of flexibility for the future as well.
Also, while I agree that it may not be prudent to put so many eggs in the 2012 FA basket when we have no guarantee that we can land Deron Williams (or Paul or Howard), remember that with 10-17 mill in cap space, we would also be players in the trade market what with our ability to swallow big contracts. What if Milwaukee goes 10-56 next year, is on the verge of bankruptcy and needs to dump their players (just to use one example)? Hello Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut! What if Sacramento decides to trade Tyreke Evans, and wants to dump some salary with him too? Point is, cap space for a smart, ambitious team like Dallas is ALWAYS a plus.
So there you have it. I don't know how realistic my plan is, or whether its something the Mavs braintrust is considering, but here would be the projected rosters under my plan:
Mavericks 2011 Roster:
PG Kidd, Beaubois
SG Rudy, JET, Deshawn
SF: Marion, Brewer, Deshawn
PF: Reigning Finals MVP, Peja, Foster, Custodian
C: Chandler, Haywood, Foster, Mahinmi
Mavericks 2012 roster:
PG Deron Williams
SG Kidd/Terry on veterans minimums
PF Clutch Beast
Done and done.