Okay Mavs Fans. As promised, here is my analysis of what the Mavs should do with their cap space. Feel free to disagree in the comments below, and share your thoughts.
A couple notes before we begin. I created a free agent list for myself to help with this. I am not posting it at the moment because this is already too long. It is the players the Mavericks should call, and if at the right price and personnel fit, they should sign. I omitted many free agents who I do not want, or are not good options. I wrote my estimated value and a brief analysis of how they should fit with the Mavs. I then proceeded to build a roster. If you guys wish to see this list, comment below, and I will post it later if you want.
As pointed out in the comments from the last article, many are expecting trades from the Mavs this summer. There is a trade article if you are intrigued and some big name trades have been put forth. There is no need to rehash these, peruse them here at your own pleasure. I think the trade market will actually be quite bare for us, and that our only trades will be of the salary shedding variety.
Trade 1: Lamar, Vince, Dojo, Cash/picks for whatever does not cost us anything.
Shed the salary. Teams looking for picks or interested in Dojo can instantly buy-out Lamar and Vince at a partial guarantee (using the $3m we send as cash). I am in the "Dojo was a wasted pick" group. Some team may be interested, but I doubt it. This is a hard trade to pull off. We will probably have to throw a future 1st-rounder pick in and get a late 2nd-rounder back. Pure salary dump for us. The silver lining is if we can actually get an early 2nd-rounder. We could get a player like Doron Lamb (early 2nd round) or whoever else the Mavs can find. Cheap bench fillers that could develop. After our trade, we have $21,873,845 in cap space to play with.
Option 1A: 12 man rotation - fill rest with vet minimum
Starters - Deron, Courtney Lee, Marion, Dirk, KamanBE- Roddy, Calathes, Ross, Azubuike, Wright, Draft Pick, Vet min centers
Deron - $17,177,795 Cap Left: $5,169,654 (remember to remove cap charges)I think we can get Kaman for about $7m-$8m, and partially guarantee later years. We would use the $5,169,654 left after signing Deron, and then some of the MLE (if you can split it like this, I am not sure). This would still leave about $3m to sign Courtney Lee. Vet minimum the rest of the roster.
Grading this line-up's potential:
Dirk has a second superstar: no analysis needed here. This is not a superteam, but a 2 star plus depth approach.
Perimeter Defense: The most overlooked issue with this year's Mavs is that Derek Fisher was able to blow by our perimeter defense and get lay-ups in the playoffs. Not anymore. Courtney Lee is a solid defender, and when paired with Marion and Williams, they should be able to handle anything thrown at them. I wouldn't say each one is a lockdown defender, but each is an upgrade over Kidd, Terry, and Vince. Our bench also shares this quality. Roddy has improved on defense against point guards (watch him vs. Tony Parker), Azubuike, if recovered, is a plus defender, and Ross is a good defender at the college level. We should be able to rotate guys in along the perimeter without having defensive liabilities. So even though Kaman is not a defensive monster, he should have less to cover for, and with decent pick and roll defense, we should be fine on this end.
Shooters: Anyone who is not a big can shoot the 3-ball except for Marion, and maybe Calathes (haven't seen much of him). They should all shoot above 35%, with multiple players over 40%.
Centers: Kaman is a solid starting center. He is a better rebounder than Haywood, much better offensively, and his defense is probably only slightly worse. This will balance out because our perimeter defense should be much improved. The bench would need a vet minimum guy that can defend. I like Aaron Gray or Camby. Hasheem Thabeet is also a potential development guy similar to Brandan Wright last year. One last option is drafting either Leonard Myers or Fab Melo if we can get an extra pick, or skip drafting a shooting guard.
Potential: This is my favorite thing about this line-up. There is a lot of potential if the Mavs can develop it. Can Roddy step-up if given a more defined, consistent role? Can Calathes handle the transition to the NBA? Can our young guys develop? This also forces Carlisle to play the young guys and see what we have, instead of a herky-jerky rotation where he pulls them on every mistake. It could also be a massive flop. I would roll the dice on this one. The truth is, we cannot trade for Howard without young potential. This gives us the option. If 3 of these guys turn out strong, then we may have a package to send Orlando. Getting under the cap space next year would be equally difficult, and would make this year's Mavs on the same level as last year's. This line-up would be similar to what San Antonio has done in the past few years with young role players, and could be very successful in my opinion.
Biggest Issue: Can Kaman lead a strong defense, and how well will he play and age after signing his last good contract? Also, this many young guys can be risky if we cannot develop them.
Option 1B: - in an attempt to address the Kaman issue...Starters - Deron, Courtney Lee, Marion, Dirk, AsikBE- Roddy, Calathes, Ross, Azubuike, Wright, Thabeet, Draft Pick, Vet min centers
Deron - $17,177,795 Cap Left: $5,169,654 (remember to remove cap charges)Courtney Lee - 4 years, $3m Cap Left: $2,643,258Project Player - Hasheem Thabeet - rest of cap w/ team option next yearAsik - MLE - 4 years, $20m, partial guarantee year 3&4
Asik has more potential than Kaman and is much better defensively. He is foul prone, but that can improve with experience. He is also Brendan Haywood bad on offense. Maybe he can improve, he is only 25, or maybe not. Good point guards tend to help challenged centers. The last issue is Asik has conditioning issues, but these should easily be fixed. A riskier option, with potentially devastating defense (the Bulls were better defensively with Asik than Noah on the floor), and a possible Dwight trade chip if Asik succeeds.
Option 2: if we don't get Deron
This is impossible to predict. One idea is to throw the season away, save cap space by taking one year contracts and get Dwight. I hate this idea, so here is my alternate.
SG -Eric Gordon offer $8m-$10m per year.
SF - If we don't get Gordon, then offer Batum $8m. A future trade chip, or a Marion replacement. Either one works for me. Mayo can be a decent catch for $5m-$6m as an alternate.
If we get one of the above, I would then sign Dragic to about $6m, and use the MLE on Kaman or Asik (or if we magically get a restricted FA center, try Batum or OJ Mayo).
Starters - Dragic, Gordon (or Mayo more likely), Marion, Dirk, AsikBE- Roddy, Calathes, Ross, Azubuike, Wright, Draft Pick, Vet min centersNot bad for a 1-star approach. Offense should be really good, and if Asik develops, nice defense as well. Contender in 2-3 years. Also good Dwight Chips. There may be enough money left for one more solid role player as well.
Not likely to occur since these will be matched, just like the Gortat deal a few years back.
If none of the above work out, sign Nash for 2 years cause that is the only fun we will have for awhile. Do 1 year contracts and pray for Dwight.