It’s always fun to look back at our expectations from players at the beginning of a season, but this bit from Austin’s Richard Jefferson preview describing that interminably period between Cuban offering Chandler Parsons a max contract and him signing hits a little close to home:
In the meantime, the Mavs locked up 13-year veteran Richard Jefferson to a veteran's minimum contract. A brief meltdown occurred directly after the singing in the Mavs blogosphere after realizing that 2014 Richard Jefferson could possibly be logging 30+ minutes for the Mavs if Parsons did not sign. Fortunately, Parsons did sign, which relegates Jefferson to the bench unit.
Sigh. "A brief meltdown" is also a pretty good way to describe the Mavericks’ postseason, as it turns out. No one anticipated Parsons needing to sit out most of the playoffs, piling on to an already massive amount of team dysfunction courtesy of Rajon Rondo. But when Richard Jefferson was called on to play a larger than expected role as a starter in the postseason, he did as well as could be expected.
For the majority of the season, he performed about as we’d hoped, coming off the bench to provide spacing. The veteran forward also occasionally fed into narratives about Carlisle’s tendency to rely on older guys over more talented young players. Despite Jefferson’s decent play and professionalism, it was sometimes frustrating to watch him get minutes over Al-Farouq Aminu.
But while he wasn’t exactly an elite two-way player, Jefferson had one of the best three-point shooting seasons of his career and was generally pretty useful on offense. He shot 42.6 percent from deep this season, finished at the rim at around the league average and generally kept his turnovers in check. Not bad for a 34 year old making the veteran’s minimum.
He waited until the playoffs to ramp up his defensive contributions, though. While opponents scored on him with relative easy during the regular season, he was able to slow down both the shooting of whatever Rocket he was guarding by nearly four percent.
Contract Situation: unrestricted free agent
Jefferson is yet another unrestricted free agent this summer. Dallas could very well bring him back to play essentially the same role they expected him to play this year: a cheap, versatile, and experienced player who’s willing to come off the bench to provide veteran leadership (whatever that is) and help space the floor with his solid perimeter shooting.
Given the number of higher profile free agents Dallas will be negotiating with around more essential roles this offseason, Jefferson’s status likely won’t be a high priority for the team. If he gets another offer from a team looking for a relatively inexpensive veteran role player, he’d probably be wise to take it.
Old man dunk! The fact that they didn’t count it doesn’t make it any less awesome: