The Dallas Mavericks are terrible at signing the free agents they want. This much has been proven, year in and year out. Yes, it’s sad, but it’s a problem that isn’t going to be fixed with pouting.
Allow me to present a different option. Seeing as how most players are happy to be a part of the Mavericks once they get here, and the team currently has a boatload of cap space (6th most of in the league, last I checked), why not try to acquire the pieces to build a championship contender via trade instead?
Sure, the Mavericks don’t have a ton of pieces to send back in a trade...but if they were willing to possibly hand out a bit-too-pricey contract in free agency, why not take on a couple of those contracts that other teams are trying to get out from under?
Here are a few guys who have been rumored to be available in a trade, for not much in return, in no particular order:
Target A: Eric Bledsoe & Tyson Chandler
The Phoenix Suns are looking to change direction, and that’s going to be difficult for them to do with big contracts to Bledsoe and Chandler on the books.
Bledsoe has 3 years left in his 5-year/$70M deal that looks like a relative steal compared to the contracts being handed out in the last two days. He’s coming off a season in which he played in just 31 games, essentially losing his chance to take the starting PG role. He wants that chance and the Suns mostly just want him gone.
For his career, Bledsoe’s PER is 18.2. Assuming he could hit that mark (which is his average, he was actually over 20 in limited action last season) against next season, he’d be the most efficient Mavericks Point Guard since Roddy Beaubois in the 2009-10 season.
You already know what/who Tyson Chandler is. He was terrible last season after signing a 4-year/$52M contract with Phoenix, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Simply put, it was a poor fit. Chandler didn’t fit into the offensive or defensive systems being employed by the Suns coaching staff and it appears they’re ready to move on from him if someone is willing to eat his contract.
Together, Bledsoe and Chandler add up to $26.4M in cap space this season. The team currently has $21.7M in cap space, but that could jump up to $39.1M if the team were to renounce their rights to Zaza Pachulia and Raymond Felton.
A starting lineup that includes Bledsoe, Wes Matthews, Justin Anderson, and Tyson Chandler would be deadly on defense. Rick Carlisle might even crack a smile coaching that team. The question is whether they’d be able to stay healthy, and whether the offense could be consistent enough for them to win.
Target B: Greg Monroe
Similar to Chandler, Monroe was signed to a big contract and just never seemed to fit with what the Milwaukee Bucks were trying to do last year. He has two years left on his 3-year/$51.4M contract, including $17.1M this season.
Monroe would be an upgrade over anyone who played Center for Dallas last season, and is still very young and talented.
Target C: Andrew Bogut
The oft-injured but incredibly valuable Center of the Golden State Warriors could be looking for a new team. Rumors are swirling of a growing rift between he and the team, probably due to him heading into the final year of his 3-year/$36M contract. He would count for $12.6M against the cap this year and would be a nice fit next to Dirk in the frontcourt.
The Warriors wouldn’t likely give him up for free, unless they sign Kevin Durant and desperately need the cap space.
Target D: Rudy Gay
I’m not the biggest Rudy Gay fan, but for a team starved for a Small Forward could find themselves the beneficiary of the Kings looking to move on from Gay as their offensive centerpiece.
Gay is one year into a 3-year/$40M deal that has an opt out after this season. He likely would be a one-year rental, but he’d be a heck of a replacement for Chandler Parsons.
In this scenario, the Mavericks would probably have to send something back, but not of equal value.
Target E: Josh McRoberts
This isn’t a game-changer but it might be a Hail Mary.
McRoberts has the size to play Power Forward or Center, and has been "good" before, although not recently.
He’s very cheap ($5M per season for the next two years) compared to what other big men are getting this offseason, but the Heat are still looking to get him off the books.