All eyes are on the upcoming free agency and the likes of Luol Deng, Trevor Ariza, Marcin Gortat, and so on, but don't forget that the trade market could also provide some realistic chances to improve the roster. Over the years we've seen the Dallas Mavericks bring in plenty of names via trade -- Tyson Chandler, Jerry Stackhouse, Jason Kidd, Caron Butler, Raef LaFrentz, Jason Terry and so on.
According to our Hal Brown, Dallas could have as much as $39 million in cap space available to upgrade the roster. We'll look at potential trade targets and try to break down possible trade scenarios to bring them in.
Note: Because of the value uncertainty of draft picks, I will avoid using them in these trade scenarios, though I may make mention of them as a hurdle or not.
First in line?
Tyson Chandler - 1 year - $14,496,888
The former Maverick has been rumored as a trade target once again for the team, but a lot of this depends on Phil Jackson's direction with this team. If he wants to reshape the roster, the expensive center with a year left on his contract may be on his way out. Of course, if he wants to win right away, this discussion may not ever take place.
Let's assume that Jackson does want to send Chandler along, banking on the cap relief that it would provide. Here's a few scenarios that the two teams might consider.
Mavs get Chandler (~$14.5 mil)
This is where the Mavs ample cap room comes into place. While there is a $4 million difference in salary, the team is able to absorb the remaining salary.
Why would the Knicks do this? They net an athletic big with a soft touch in Wright. They also receive a young point guard who could fit into the Triangle (assuming that's the direction the Knicks go). With Dalembert, they either receive a starting caliber center to replace Chandler, or they can waive his partially guaranteed contract and save money. It may not be the best offer they receive, but if the team is truly looking to move on from Chandler, then it might make sense.
Mavs get Chandler (~$14.5 mil)
Knicks get $14.5 mil trade exception.
This can be a little tricky for the Mavs to pull off.
Number one: They need to make sure they are at least $14.5 mil below the cap line.
Number two: They must have either have re-signed and/or renounced the rights to Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter, Shawn Marion, Devin Harris, DeJuan Blair, and Bernard James while having the available cap room due to their cap holds.
Why would the Knicks do this? Simple, the trade exception. New York may have no interest in the likes of Wright, Larkin, Dalembert, Gal Mekel, and so on, but they could drool over the thought of having such a large trade exception. With that they can now trade for a player whose yearly salary is $14.5 mil or below without having to send any player out in a trade.
Knicks get Shawn Marion (sign-and-trade), Brandan Wright, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin ($10.5 mil+)
Marion is eligible to be sign-and-traded and this can help Dallas balance out the salaries to make this deal work. Obviously Marion would have to approve such a move, but he could potentially like the idea of playing a season or so in New York. If not Marion, Jose Calderon could be involved. If so, the Mavs would send out approximately $17.5 million. Again, with cap space available, the Mavs could absorb the remaining salary difference - as long as they have that amount available.
Why would the Knicks do this? Unload salaries. Smith and Felton are under contract for two more seasons, and after the seasons they both had, the Knicks would love to get them off their books so they can speed up the rebuilding process in an effort to keep Carmelo Anthony happy and in New York.
Why would the Mavs do this? This comes down to how much they value Chandler. Would they be willing to bring in an often over-weight point guard and a shooting guard who has never met a shot he doesn't like to bring back their former anchor? If so, they would have their backup point guard (unless they trade Calderon) to replace Harris and a 6th-man who can take over Carter's responsibilities.
Chandler's availability and the Mavericks' chance of obtaining him all come down to what the Knicks want to do. If they're desperate to reshape the roster to Jackson's liking then the Mavs could be real players to get him back in a Dallas jersey. If Jackson has shown anything it's that he wants to win NOW. So while many suggest the Knicks could better draft picks and youth from other teams, they may be more interested to relieve cap room to begin reshaping the roster via free agency. After all, the 2015 free agent market will consist of a few big names.
Another key factor in Chandler's value is he has one year remaining on his deal. Can't rule out teams could be scared away at the thought of giving up assets for an injury prone center, who will be 32 years old, and with no guarantee of re-signing.
Finally, we always equate cap space to signing free agent but in this case, the Mavs cap room could be their biggest asset on the trade market.