I had a big intro ready for this column, but decided to put about as much effort into it as the Mavericks have this off-season. So I'm just gonna link to this tweet from Craig Sager's daughter.
Full list of teams who have yet to sign someone in #NBAFreeAgency: Cavs, Warriors,Thunder, Spurs, Mavs.#OneOfTheseThingsIsNotLikeTheOthers— Kacy Sager (@THESagerbomb) July 4, 2016
The Mavericks did change that last night in the smallest possible way, re-signing two of their own free agents in Deron Williams and Dwight Powell. So technically, yes, they've made moves now.
While the Mavericks save their cap space for trades that probably won't materialize, the NBA free agent marketplace has been picked to the bone. Gone are the big prizes, like Hassan Whiteside, Mike Conley, Dwight Howard and Al Horford. Adios to about all of the second-tier guys like Ian Mahinmi, Ryan Anderson, Jordan Clarkson, Evan Fournier, and Timofey Mozgov, Jamal Crawford and Jeremy Lin.
What's left is a grab bag of young flawed restricted free agents, some older vets looking for one last big payday and Kevin Durant. (If you just want a list instead of the various names mentioned in this article, try this one.)
Durant is obviously out of the question. Harrison Barnes is the most meh NBA starter of the last 10 years and the Mavs plan to go after him, but it's all contingent on Durant leaving for the Warriors. Same goes for the Warriors other restricted free agent, Festus Ezeli. Rajon Rondo even got paid and is off the market before the Mavericks decided to re-up with Williams.
Pau Gasol is out there, but he fits with Dirk Nowitzki about as well as Chandler Parsons fits with Rick Carlisle (zing!), and it sounds like he's headed to San Antonio anyway. There's Dwyane Wade and although there's some basketball fit, I'd rather personally gouge my eyeballs out with a frozen ice cream scooper than see Dirk and Wade on the same team.
J.R. Smith is wandering around Northeast Ohio somewhere without a shirt on. Brandon Jennings would be perfect if the Mavericks are trying to win the award for first backcourt with both Achilles blown up. Allen Crabbe is probably headed to Brooklyn, but as of now is still out there. I'd much rather the Mavs throw their money at him as a restricted free agent rather than Barnes, but typical for the Mavs there's no interest shown.
Terrence Jones would be a perfect backup for Dirk. He's out there! He's sorta good! It would follow in the Mavs footsteps of letting teams do their drafting for them, but the Mavericks gave Jones' supposed money to Powell instead. Which is probably fine, even if Jones is better. After that ... uhm. How about a Brandon Bass reunion? Can I interest you in the spiritual sequel to Latrell Sprewell v. P.J. Carlesimo with Lance Stephenson v. Rick Carlisle?
The Mavericks are toast. The worst part about the Barnes news isn't that picking Barnes over Parsons gives me a brain aneurysm. It's that Durant's deciding soon, before the July 7 date the Mavs can actually sign Barnes to the offer sheet. Even if Durant goes to Golden State and allows the Mavs to go as planned, the Warriors could still match and by then, July 10, most of the names I've already listed above will definitely be gone.
Dallas will likely make a trade no one sees coming, just like they did for Zaza Pachulia last year. But it will be for a veteran bench player who the Mavericks try to turn into a starter, or something very similar. You saw how Pachulia ended the year, after all.
At least Dallas made a couple moves last night, providing confirmation that they were still alive. But as for the rest of the roster ... there's just not much left out there.