There's good players, there's bad players, and then there's this group of players who are typically known for one thing.
And what makes the upcoming free agency a strong trap for bad contracts?
1. Many teams who are emptying their cap
2. Teams who are trying to improve in the contention race.
3. Many young players who are going into restricted agency that are evaluated based on Youth, Potential and current level of play.
4. Lack of distinct "sure win" free agents.
5. Mavericks have been under pressure to "get good and young free agents"
Which makes the upcoming free agency a huge thing for the mavericks this year. If we go and strike out with a max contract on, say, Lance Stephenson, and end up having him, but he turns out to be Travis Outlaw 2.0, we're gone. Like, beyond hope, because no one is going to take him off our hands, and because it also meant that we're stuck with a bad player, while having NO draft picks (if we dont end up giving up our draft pick this year) for trade, and yet not being bad enough to actually get good draft position.
Which makes me wonder, should the mavericks sign player based on risk rather than potential? I know that it has been what we have been doing for the past few years. Either short contracts or bargain contracts at slightly longer duration.
I personally have a list of free agents next year which i suspect will be what many people look out for. I'll separate them into different categories, which i will post here to keep track and for discussion. I'll be doing this in separate parts, i.e. one post for each list, because i cant post so many at one time.
1. The veteran players we dont want to overpay:
This group of players are basically at the peak of their careers or at the decline, but have been all-star and possibly the better half of the free agency class, but honestly speaking, overpaying them is a recipe for disaster.
A year back, and i would want him on our team. That said, since he had returned from injury, he has been performing really badly. I know that he's on a bad offensive team (pacers), but his PER of less than 15 doesnt really speak out to me for a player who is probably going to ask for more than 10mil a year, been called out for lack of heart by Larry Bird, all whilst being in one of the best team in the league right now. It screams "collison and OJ mayo" situation which is basically something which i cringe to remember. Unless we can somehow get him for like, 5-8 mil a year, i seriously dont think i want him in the team. Oh, and did i mention he's injury-prone?
He has something the previous guy doesnt: he has tons of heart. But he also have something the other doesnt: crazy amount of playtime. For a player at his age, he's only going to get worse, not better. The bright side is that Deng is going to be much better than Granger as a fit for our team. And he's performing well defensively, and known for being a good culture type of guy, and seems to have a character that fits the mavs culture: humble, doesnt speak badly about teamates, doesnt complain much even after being thrown into the mess called Cavs. But sadly the other teams in the free agency market knows this, and this means that if we want him, we either need him to want to come here, or we overpay him. I think he does want to play here, so the only thing is that we get him without overpaying. Hopefully he doesnt get injured much and the mavs trainers team does another Vince carter level of rejuvenation out of him.
I'll be upfront here. He has played many years in WAS, together with Wall, who is a superbly underrated point guard who is great at setting up for others, and his offensive numbers still suck. Well, until this year. Guess what, it's his contract year. And when was the last time he has his upswing? His last contract year.
To me this screams one thing: Inconsistent player who really only cares when his contract is in question. The point here is that we're not going to sign him for a 1 year contract so that he is always playing in his contract year, so while he's relatively young, injury free, an is a good defender all around... i dont really want him in the team if he's going to compromise the team culture by lacking effort (reminds us of someone who is in our team right now isnt it? guess what Carlisle is going to do to those who lacks effort?)
So the biggest problem is how much we're going to pay him. If he shows up and then plays with bad effort, even though he's good in defense, we might see another Dalembert situation where we basically scream at Carlisle for not playing him, but in reality it's needed to set the culture of the team right.
I know he's probably going to be what we want to get in free agency, first person we try and get. Guess what, we wont be the only one. One look through the list of free agent Centers in the upcoming free agency (from hoopshype) ...and the choice is more or less him, Spencer Hawes, Greg Monroe (restricted, please be reminded Cuban doesnt like RFA), Old man Okafor, or...yes, Chris Kaman.
With that in mind, lets get some stuff clear about Macin Gortat. He's a (relatively) good rebounder, shot blocker. But dont expect him to by Tyson Chandler. Also, his offensive game is often not mentioned, but he makes Dalembert look as if he has great hands, and the only reason why his ppg is so well, is because he is really good in pick and roll situations, and that he nearly always have had a good passing point guard in his career when he shines (Nash, Wall) and bad ones when he doesnt (Dragic basically, for 1 year, and they blocked each other in the paint basically for the whole year). However, once he is able to catch the ball, finishing it isnt a problem for him. But we already have wright for that, isnt it?
Outside of us, 76'ers, Wizards are both players who are going to lose their Center to free agency. For the 76'ers they might not get a center since they have Noel, but i have difficulty seeing Gortat moving away from a city which he has stayed for a while, and the change to continue making the playoffs with John Wall. On top of that, he is NOT a great chemistry guy. For the record, he went to the Polish press about 3-5 times during the last season with the Sun and basically badmouthed the team staff and players. Makes us wonder why they didnt keep him for the rebuild. With all that said, the trap here is that we overpay to drag him out of WAS. I personally think he's the lowest risk out of all the free agents listed here, because the market for him isnt THAT big, considering most teams already have their starting centers, and the only team likely to want to fork out serious cash for him to us and WAS.
And that's to conclude my first part... very lengthy i know, i'm kinda verbose.
Hope to see the comments about how you feel about these free agents =)