Everything we know says DeAndre Jordan will make his free agency decision Friday. Depending on when you read this, it might have already happened.
When that happens, one of two things will follow: 1) he'll say yes to Dallas and the Mavs' front office will joyously begin the process of filling out the rest of the roster, or 2) he'll say no, and then things might get really, really ugly.
Late Thursday night, the Mavericks brought Wes Matthews into the fold with a four-year deal that will eventually shore up one of the guard spots when he is healthy. That's a start, but even if Jordan signs, there's still six more spots to go to reach the league-mandated 13-man roster. With Jordan, the Mavericks will have somewhere in the $4 to $6 million range to spend; without him, obviously quite a bit more.
Let's start with the guards. The Mavericks need both a point and perhaps someone who can start at shooting guard if Matthews isn't ready by the start of the season.
Mo Williams, unrestricted free agent, Charlotte
Mo has been around a while and has been written off by some especially after a lackluster few months in Minnesota. However, Williams was traded to Charlotte at the deadline and had a pretty good close to the season, averaging 20 points and seven assists per 36 minutes. He had a down year shooting from long range, but is a career 38 percent shooter and makes a lot of sense as a spot up guy who can also handle the ball. Mo lives in Dallas during the offseason, which might be why this feels like the fifth straight summer he has been rumored to be on the Mavs' radar. Curiously, there was word that Mo was close to a deal with Memphis, but all has since gone quiet on that front.
Jeremy Lin, UFA, Los Angeles Lakers
Truthfully, you could make the argument Lin should be No. 1. I prefer Williams' off-ball potential, but Lin did actually shoot better from three last year at 37 percent, which may or may not be indicative of his true ability level. Lin is bigger and offers more defensively than Mo, and he's undoubtedly better at getting to the basket and drawing fouls (and throwing alley oops to a potential center who is good at catching them). Lin's turnover problems are troubling, and might get him in hot water with coach Rick Carlisle, but the former Dallas Summer League invitee may be the best option left by the time DeAndre Jordan picks his team.
Patrick Beverley, restricted free agent, Houston
He's a pest of a player on the court who fits the rare 3-and-D point guard role, which is fine with the plan to give Chandler Parsons more playmaking duties. Beverley started the season hot from three and cooled off late, but he has a lot of the traits Carlisle might really likes in a player. He's also friendly with his former teammate Parsons. Unfortunately, he is restricted, and while stealing an RFA from Houston worked last summer, it might be a lot harder this time around, especially if Jordan signs and the Mavericks are working with limited money.
Lou Williams, UFA, Toronto
Lou is the classic shooting guard in a point guard's body. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year, Williams finally got some recognition after being one of the more underrated guys in the league. Like Jason Terry, Lou Will is best used as a bench ace, and like JET, Lou Will is a bit stretched as a starter. So, in that sense, this is a bad match. At the same time, players who combine high volume 3-point shooting and excellent free throw rates don't grow on trees, so he's worth keeping in mind.
Reggie Jackson, RFA, Detroit
Jackson was traded from Oklahoma City to Detroit, and with Brandon Jennings out Reggie suddenly found himself as the primary offensive option. The results were mixed, but Jackson has the talent to be more than a caddy for Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Equipped with long arms, athleticism and an aggressive nature, Jackson attacks at both ends, though he can seemingly alternate great plays with awful ones. Jackson would be an intriguing gamble, but as with Beverley his restricted status likely makes him too pricey.
Cory Joseph, RFA, San Antonio
If the Spurs do end up getting LaMarcus Aldridge, then Cory Joseph may be a casualty. The former UT Longhorn has been a spot player with San Antonio but could easily take on a larger role. He has great size for the position, which allows him to defend well in certain matchups. On offense, Joseph is cut from a similar cloth as his mentor Tony Parker, attacking the basket and taking quality shots without forcing the action. It would be interesting to see how Joseph's offensive game might develop on another team.
Corey Brewer, UFA, Houston
The irony here is that several of the best available wings are guys Rick Carlisle had at one time, and refused to play. The playoffs showed that Brewer can be pretty good in the right situation. He's a good defender and a terror in transition. His value tends to waver depending on how his shot is falling, and that holds him back. After saying that he got traded for "a bag of chips," would he even want to play in Dallas again?
Wayne Ellington, UFA, Los Angeles Lakers
Yes, this is how quickly the remaining wing depth drops. Ellington is an OK player, of course, who lives off his sweet jumpshot and doesn't do a lot else well. Ellington was a forgotten man in Dallas just 18 months ago, but for a team in need of shooting, you would think Ellington could actually have a role this time.
J.R. Smith, UFA, Cleveland
Just hear me out. Smith is a major-league headcase. But he can shoot, jump, handle and pass better than you think. On those rare moments where he's locked in, he's actually not that bad a defender. If Rick Carlisle could somehow reign him in, J.R. still has the skillset to be a starter on a contending team.
Alexey Shved, UFA, New York
Shved is a personal favorite of mine, who after struggling in Philly had a great 16-game run with the Knicks. The sample size is way too short to take to the bank, but Shved averaged 20-6-5 per 36 minutes, and hit 37 percent of his threes. Alexey is a rail thin combo guard with lots of experience overseas, and at 6'6 he has a really diverse offensive game.
Gerald Green, UFA, Phoenix
In the J.R. Smith mold, Green has mega talent that he continues to misuse. He has been able to finally get a hold on an NBA career, though, so that's something. Green had a disappointing follow up to his first season with the Suns, but when he's hot he can really score, and at 6'8 he is enormous for an off-guard. The problem is he might be the least attentive, least engaged, least intelligent defender in the league. I know Monta Ellis had some bad moments, but Green makes him look like Gary Payton. Still, the shooting and dunking would be fun to watch.
Kosta Koufos, UFA, Memphis
On the right team, I think he could have a breakout year. Koufos is an extremely underrated defender and capable offensive player as well. Koufos excels on the offensive glass. He's spent the last two seasons in the shadow of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, but his rate stats say that with starter minutes, he could be a double-double guy.
Tristan Thompson, RFA, Cleveland
It would be surprising if Cleveland didn't make a strong effort to keep Thompson, even though the two sides are reportedly apart in contract talks. Thompson made himself a lot of money this postseason, and as one of the game's best offensive rebounders, he would be an interesting pairing with Dirk.
Kyle O'Quinn, RFA, Orlando
A strong, defensive-minded big man who should have a long career as a serviceable backup 4 or smallball 5. O'Quinn may not be the sexiest option, but he's young enough to offer upside as a long-term investment. O'Quinn's rebounding numbers dropped off a little last year, but as a high-motor guy I would expect a positive regression there if he leaves Orlando and stops playing alongside Nikola Vucevic.
Jordan Hill, UFA, LA Lakers
Dallas has been rumored to be interested in HIll, although I admit I am a little surprised to hear it. The former top 10 pick has never lived up to the hype and may be doomed to be the classic 5/4 tweener. He's very athletic and even has some range for a big, yet all those tools haven't added up to a player who helps his team succeed. The Lakers -- an awful defensive squad -- were significantly better defensively with Hill and his physical gifts off the floor, both this past season and the one before. Hill's best traits are his mobility and offensive rebounding, which would fit nicely next to Dirk, but Hill seems a bit like fools gold to me.