The Dallas Mavericks will have eight free agents this offseason, if you include Dirk Nowitzki (team option) and Wesley Matthews (player option). The rest of that list includes Seth Curry, Devin Harris, Nerlens Noel and Josh McRoberts as unrestricted free agents, and Yogi Ferrell and Salah Mejri as restricted free agents. We asked our staff:
Assuming that nothing happens at the trade deadline, which of these guys do you see the Mavericks holding on to past this season, and what kind of contracts do you expect to be given out?
Doyle (@TheKobeBeef): Outside of Dirk (if he chooses to return) and Matthews, I only see Curry, Harris, and Ferrell coming back next season at this point. Enough has been written here and elsewhere detailing the fall from favor Noel experienced during his time in Dallas so there’s no real need to rehash that here.
As for McRoberts, while he remains one of my favorite players in the league, the trade to acquire him was almost entirely to dump a multiyear contract for an expiring one. I would be shocked if he was on the roster next season unless he sees a dramatic increase in playing time heading into the spring.
That leaves Mejri. His silly antics have endeared him to some of late but when it comes down to it, he’s a 31-year-old backup center whose per-36 numbers are good but his real value is as an agitator. He’s only scored more than 10 points twice this season and he rarely stays on the floor longer than 19 minutes because of foul trouble. Since he’s a restricted free agent, the Mavs can match any offer he gets this summer. I just don’t think they should.
Back to the guys I think will stick around. After Curry’s season-long injury (so far), his value might dip considerably. If it does, that could be a win for the Mavs. This team loves cap space and if it can save some money and bring guys back in, then it should. For Curry, if they still believe in his potential as a scorer then a three-year deal worth $12-15 million is reasonable. I think a similar deal for Yogi makes sense, too.
I think the team will work with Devin and give him something similar to what he’s making now ($4.4 million) for another season or two.
If any of these figures are low in your mind, they’re not. We’re still talking about millions of dollars. Besides, I fully expect the Mavs to swing for the fences in free agency again. They have the cap room to sign a marquee player and that should be the goal. Better to spend money there than overpay aging bench players.
Jordan (@Jbrodess): I will continue to operate under the assumption that Dirk is returning, and that Wes will pick up his option (though it’s possible he’ll want to lock in a longer deal by sacrificing some money up front). Second, the front office decided long ago that they have no use for Nerlens Noel, and they actually have no use for McRoberts. So neither will be on the roster by July.
After that it’s a real crap shoot. I’m of the opinion that only one of the rest should be a no-brainer, and that’s Yogi Ferrell. Back in September Seth Curry would have probably been on that list, too. But this injury he’s dealing with makes me very nervous. Unfortunately for Curry, it probably means he’s going to have to give a discount to prove himself all over again. So perhaps the Mavs can capitalize on that. Maybe in the three-year, $12 million range. But health and age considered, the Mavericks shouldn’t tie up much more money than that in him.
For Yogi, he could be a starter on a handful of teams, so expect there to be some competitive market for him. Lucky for the Mavs, many teams don’t have a ton of cap space to tie up in a restricted free agent. Unless he signs some monster deal (it’s possible), the Mavs should look to match — three years, $18 million seems right.
I think Doyle is right about Harris, though I think they should move on. It’s not that Harris doesn’t have value, I would just like more roster spots invested in guys that could be here long term. But as long as Dirk stays, I bet Harris (and Barea) stays. And Mejri shouldn’t be re-signed. His antics only work on a contending team, and he has value in that capacity; on a rebuilding squad it does little else than create priceless GIFs of Carlisle telling him to get lost.
Dalton (@dalton_trigg): A lot of these guys’ futures will probably depend on what the Mavs are able to do in the early stages of free agency this summer. Like Doyle, I also expect the Mavs to go star-hunting on July 1. More specifically, I think they’re going to go hard after DeMarcus Cousins. The Mavs front office can deny those intentions all they want, but you can’t convince me otherwise. Cousins would be incredible in Dallas and would help make the Mavs relevant again. I mean, would you blame the Mavs for trying? Just look at this. How could you not want a talented guy like this on your team.
Plus, unlike previous free agency failures, the Mavs actually have some legitimate cornerstones on their current roster to pitch to free agents in Dennis Smith Jr. and Harrison Barnes. And if they fail? Oh well, you still have those two cornerstones on your team. It’s not “all or nothing” like in past summers.
Anyway — I’ll get back to the actual topic of this roundtable now.
Dirk will be back, in what will almost surely be his last season. I don’t see Wes declining an $18-million player option, so he’s probably going to be back (he could decline and sign on for a longer deal though, possibly). I think Yogi will definitely be back. As good as he’s been for the Mavs, I don’t see anybody offering him something so outrageous that the Mavs wouldn’t match it. Mejri is older, but I really like the attitude he brings when he’s on the floor (other than when he takes it a little too far). If he can be retained for something around the vet minimum, I don’t see how that hurts the Mavs to have him on their bench.
Noel and McRoberts are the only two players that will definitely gone, and I think McRoberts will probably be gone before the trade deadline gets here.
That leaves Harris and Curry. I’ve always said that Devin Harris is one of those players that you truly believe is a MFFL. Pretty much every event the Mavs put on, you can count on Harris being there. He’s a great teammate, a good mentor for a younger player like Smith, and he can still do some good things on the court as well. Assuming that he’s not traded (that just seems really unlikely at this point), I think the Mavs will look to bring him back if the price is right, because Harris probably doesn’t want to leave Dallas.
Seth Curry is the biggest question mark for me. Before the season started, I was extremely excited to see if he could build off of what he did last year with the Mavs. This stress reaction he’s been out with all season really concerns me now, though. There really hasn’t been much talk about what kind of contract he could potentially get, or how much this injury-riddled season has changed the Mavs’ intentions of bringing him back (nothing may have changed, just speculating here). Again, like with some of the other guys mentioned above, if the price is right, I think Curry probably ends up back with the Mavs. It’d be nice if the Mavs could sign him to cheap two or three-year deal.