The Mavericks front office has done everything in this wild free agency to clear enough cap space and make a push for either Chris Paul, Dwight Howard or Deron Williams, who were supposed to hit the free agency market next year. Although Dwight Howard named the Mavs as one of four teams he'd be willing to sign longterm with and Deron Williams stated he always thought about playing for his hometown team back in his Utah days, it seems that none of them could be available next summer.
Because the new CBA grants advantages to teams resigning their own free agents in terms of contract length (5 instead of 4 years) and annual raises (7.5% compared to 4.5%), both Howard and Paul are better off getting traded than staying with their current teams and hitting free agency next summer. SheridanHoops.com has a nice article about the financial ramifications.
ESPN reports that both L.A. teams are closing in on a deal for Chris Paul and that this deal should be completed either today or tomorrow. Chris Paul would definitely sign his new contract with the Lakers, but a trade to the Clippers would also keep him from becoming a free agent next summer. He promised to pick up his Player Option for next year and to stay with the Clippers through 2012/2013. So far the league wanted to get a premium package for Chris Paul, but word is they might give in in the current talks, because they just have to trade him or they risk to lose him in free agency next summer without getting anything back.
Meanwhile the Magic, Trail Blazers and the Nets are closing in on a 3-team deal that would pair up Dwight Howard with Deron Williams in New Jersey. The Nets are trying everything to convince Williams to stay in Brooklyn and he told them to get Howard. It is very unlikely, to say the least, that one of them would choose the Mavericks in next years free agency if they already were teamed up in New Jersey and would be able to sign bigger contracts there.
Next years class is loaded even behind the big three, but the Mavs wanted to get a hand on at least one of these. If all the rumored trades went through, it probably would put Howard, Paul and Williams out of reach.