In the many fruitless attempts at grabbing players like Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan, Mike Conley and others, the Mavericks developed an ability to bargain hunt for players that they could maximize in a season. It was borne out of a necessity to keep cap space open - but it is a valuable asset nonetheless.
And rather than targeting vets like Richard Jefferson, Raymond Felton and Charlie Villanueva, the Mavericks last offseason moved on to taking flyers on younger players who have been undervalued and can grow under the Mavericks not-so-secret-weapon, the Wizard Rick Carlisle.
Mavs Moneyball dug in to some players early on post-draft, and Josh Bowe gave us a great in depth primer as we hit last weekend. But as the free agent market shifts from the all-stars to the role players this week, here is a smaller list of players still available the Mavericks should realistically consider under what we might call the “Seth Curry Plan”:
Spending his first four seasons in Minnesota playing mostly behind Andrew Wiggins, Muhammad started the weekend as a restricted free agent, then became the victim of Tom Thibodeau and company aiming to compete now with vets like Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson. Now as an unrestricted free agent, teams won’t have to worry about Minnesota matching. And with some cap space already quickly filling, the 24 year old small forward may be prime for a short term bargain contract where he can prove his worth. For the Mavs, it would be a no-brainer, low-risk way to bolster the wing.
McDaniels has bounced around in his three years in the league, playing for Philadelphia, Houston, and Brooklyn. And because he’s either been a young player on a competitive team, or thrown to eastern conference teams who are perennially bad, he’s sort of an unknown commodity. Kate Crawford breaks him down pretty clearly for us here. Long term the Mavericks need wing help, and McDaniels is another player who should come relatively cheap. There would be little pressure on him to do too much next season, but he’s the sort of young energy guy that the Mavericks need off the bench.
Noticing a trend? With the point guard and center position locked in for the future with Dennis Smith, Jr. and (presumably) Nerlens Noel; and with the flexibility of Harrison Barnes as both a small forward and power forward, the Mavericks are in need of two things: wings and combo forwards. Detailed by SB Nation’s Detriot Bad Boys, Reggie Bullock had an up and down contract year. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t raw talent there. He has size and the ability to stretch the floor, with a handful of years of pro experience under his belt. If he bounces back to being consistently healthy, he looks to be the sort of Jae Crowder-esque player the Mavericks could use.
Clark has spent the past two seasons with Golden State as a low-minute role player at shooting guard. A Splash Brother he is not, but he has perimeter shooting ability. This past season was the first time he saw 15 minutes per game, and he had decent output (7 points per game, 37 percent from three). Golden State fans seemed to enjoy him, as did his teammates - if it wasn’t for pricing out of the Warriors cap situation, he’d most likely still be there. One thing can be sure, Clark has spent early years in an elite system, and would be ready to contribute day one. He might still be too expensive for the Mavs’ taste, but he’s an intriguing player to watch if he’s given more playing time.
Casspi is one of the “older” guys on the list, just having turned 29. But these are the sort of players the Mavericks tend to love. He has stretch four ability, is a perimeter shooter, and doesn’t take possessions off. He had an odd 2016-17 season, playing well for Sacramento, then getting traded to New Orleans in the Boogie trade, breaking his thumb in his first game as a Pelican (then getting released), and then signing with Minnesota. He’s a career 8 point 4 rebound role player that’s a career 37 percent three point shooter (in eight seasons). He could provide the Mavericks forward depth, while also bringing veteran level experience.
Miles, like Casspi, is older (30 with 12 years of NBA experience). But once again he’s the exact kind of player that the Mavericks would value. He’ll probably either be too expensive, or be looking to go to a contender, and there are similar players like him that are younger. Still, Miles can play multiple positions, stretch the floor, and would be a nice transition to the new Mavericks era.
There are bargains to be had, and the Mavericks get better and better at it every off season. Keep checking Mavs Moneyball for free agency news, and let us know below who you think they should be looking at!