While the NBA lockout still persists, the contracts keep on rolling, at least that is the current news. Whether the NBA Players Association and the NBA agree to extend missing time is something I do not know of, and it may happen. But until that news hits, the contracts will burn up. With the 9 players remaining, we have about $60 million in guaranteed money that we owe for 2011-12.
Since we have to sign 13 players, we assume they're for one year deals. But since there is no 2011-12 season, the money won't count towards, anything, or even allow Dallas to sign players due to the organization having a high salary compared with most teams. However, in 2012, the team may get retooled for runs, or become the division cellar if they go all in with a sack of garbage as their prize.In 2012, two high salary contracts will expire, Jason Terry's and Jason Kidd's, along with a few smaller contracts. The team's obligation's will be just under $45 million, with half of that going to Dirk and the rest going towards Marion, Haywood, Brewer, and rookie contracts. With Kidd having a ring, he will most likely retire. Terry, however, will want a new contract with the team. He may have had elevated stats this year, but more likely than not, he will begin his decline. Dallas will have to make several decisions this year and next, including:
- extending Tyson Chandler
- extending Juan Jose Barea
- extending Jason Terry
- finding the replacement of Jason Kidd
- finding the backup to Dirk
As a community, we must analyze the top options for each problem: Extending Chandler will cost us north of $10 million, especially with several cap friendly teams lacking great centers out there. With both Haywood and Mahinmi on the team, I say to let him go if he gets' too expensive. Why? 2012 free agents will best Chandler, and the PG position is more important to replace since we have no adequate person to replace Kidd, while Haywood should be ready to seize the momentum if Chandler leaves. This brings the next point,
Extending Barea: Again, it's all about the money. If Barea is worth more than $2.5 million, he can be set free. We have Rodrigue Beaubois to replace Barea's Lightning in a Bottle status, and Roddy must develop to gain that pivoted backup PG spot. The next point can also address both Barea and the PG situation:
Finding the replacement of Jason Kidd: If the team does not spend too much on long term contracts in 2011, there is one coveted free agent the Mavs may target with the sign and trade: Deron Williams. He is a free agent in 2012, and will take a max contract from a good team, especially if the Nets' do not improve significantly this coming year if played. Many may ask: aren't you saying we have a lot of cap room in2012? If that is true, why can't we sign him outright? That answer is because Deron will command the max, and while we will have about $12 million in cap room, it is not enough to cover the $17 million he will get. Thus we can send a sweetener of a first rounder and Dominique Jones to get New Jersey to get something for nothing. But spending our money with Deron or another all-star PG will also provide another dilemma, extending Terry.
Extending Terry sounds like the best thing to do, correct? He did provide valuable products this year, especially in the Finals. However, being on the wrong side of 30, his production will decline inevitably. We have to see production in 2011 to judge what is his income. I would judge a five year, front loaded deal of $30 million will suit him. However, if the Mavs get Deron or any other player of high pay, then Terry may have to take a low paying deal or else he would be let go. There is one more problem the team has to face: the backup PF.
Since the team did not get talent to stash that can develop quickly (such as Davis Bertans) we have to look at free agents this year. My advice: don't over spend. Brian Cardinal became a valuable gem in the playoffs, providing the fighting will and fury to keep opponents cowering. However, Brain Cardinal may not be enough next year. The Mavs need stable production that can still develop at a low rate. Not may players fit the bill, but there still are some. Jonas Jeberko of the Pistons is a perfect example. Due to an injury, he did not play much this year. However, this keeps his price low. If they give him a deal similar to Brewer's, they may end up providing middling assets to our 2nd unit.
There may be more problems that I did not catch, and if so, please state them in the comments. This is a team that we as fans want to win multiple championships, and even though many of these deals will not occur, it is the time to develop the taste to what could be the future champs.