Dallas Mavericks: Free agency



The Mavericks had a two-year, $20 million offer on the table to Stephenson, contingent on the Houston Rockets matching their offer for forward Chandler Parsons. If Houston had matched, Stephenson would have signed with Dallas, sources said.

The two sides had a handshake agreement.

Instead, Stephenson is headed to Charlotte to play for the Hornets for the next three seasons. His contract is worth $27 million, league sources said.

The contract, which includes a team option for the final season, ends Stephenson's productive yet volatile four-year stay with the Indiana Pacers.

Mavs strike with aggression this summer

July, 15, 2014
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LAS VEGAS -- After pushing the eventual champion San Antonio Spurs to a Game 7 in the first round, the Dallas Mavericks will return with a much different roster next season.

The Mavs have acquired center Tyson Chandler, small forward Chandler Parsons, point guard Raymond Felton, a young big man in Greg Smith and a veteran perimeter forward in Richard Jefferson. They have been incredibly aggressive this summer. As always, they've tried to stay opportunistic in the market, whether it be by trade or the free-agent market. To this point, they've done well.

[+] EnlargeRichard Jefferson
Brad Rempel/USA TODAY SportsRichard Jefferson will join his sixth team, having played for the New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Golden State and Utah in his 13-year career.
"Ideal would have been Carmelo and LeBron coming for the minimum, but that didn't happen," Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson told ESPN Dallas on Monday.

You can't fault Nelson for being ambitious or for his wit. The Mavs ultimately got the man they wanted in Parsons. It was a move that was priority No. 1 for Dallas.

"We targeted Parsons from a very early stage. We feel he can play 4, 3. He can shoot the long ball, he can get the ball into the gut and make passes," Nelson said. "He's also a team guy and he knows what to do without the ball. He can grab it off the glass and push the ball. He knows what to do without the ball and doesn't need the ball to be effective.

"Where do you stop? He's kind of a perfect, tailored guy for the Mavericks."

Looking around the league, a team like the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to come out smelling like roses in regard to their summer spending. That said, you can't discount what Dallas has done as they've made big moves. Continuity was a big buzzword for the Mavs going into the offseason. Continuity is nice, but getting better talent is, well, better.

"We're doing well. We're changing the team, we're getting it better and improving," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle told ESPN Dallas. "Those are all things that are exciting. We've got more spaces to fill and we've got more good prospects. We're going to keep pushing forward."

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Who will have a bigger impact on the Mavs this season?

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Discuss (Total votes: 15,457)

The three members of the Mavs' brain trust -- Mark Cuban, Nelson and Carlisle -- likely will go on their own separate paths for the remainder of the week. While that might be the case, all three have been hovering around the gyms this weekend, watching the summer league team playing and spitballing ideas. Whenever visible, the three of them would have conversations with one another in corners of the arena, formulating ideas to finish out their roster.

Their last major asset left in terms of money is their $2.7 million exception. While they could go different ways with the money, one focus is on their mind.

"I think we're looking for the best player," Nelson said. "As long as we can get that, we're happy. There's lot of backup roles that are needed. We can go in a variety of different directions, from point guard to center. I think we're going to try to get the best possible player we can."

Whoever the final pieces to the puzzle are, they will put a nice shiny bow on a successful offseason. The challenge will then become trying to become successful in terms of regular season and hopefully playoff games.

Sources: Mavs now target Mike Miller

July, 14, 2014
Jul 14
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LAS VEGAS -- Even with the acquisition of small forward Chandler Parsons, the Dallas Mavericks are still in the market for more perimeter shooting. It was reported this weekend that the Mavs do intend to sign forward Richard Jefferson for the league minimum, and now sources have told ESPN.com's Marc Stein that the Mavericks and the Houston Rockets have barged into a Mike Miller sweepstakes. The objective is to acquire a perimeter-oriented small forward and to keep LeBron James' sharpshooting teammate from Miami away from Cleveland.

[+] EnlargeMike Miller
Danny Bollinger/NBAE/Getty ImagesMike Miller averaged 7.1 PPG and 45.9 percent from 3-point range for the Grizzlies last season.
The 14-year veteran forward averaged 7.1 points on 48.1 percent shooting from the field and 45.9 percent from 3-point range for the Memphis Grizzlies last season.

With Memphis unable to come to terms with Miller, the Grizzlies went on to sign former Mavs forward Vince Carter to a multiyear deal. For his career, Miller has shot 40.9 percent from 3-point range.

The Mavs have only their $2.7 million exception to offer Miller. Cleveland's offer would likely be similar to Dallas', but James will likely try to convince his former teammate to join him and the Cavs. Miller was a teammate of James during both championship wins for the Miami Heat.

It is believed that the Denver Nuggets have had the best financial offer on the table for Miller. It appears that the Mavs, Rockets and Cavs are further down on the list.

Cap space: Harris, Dirk agreements stand

July, 14, 2014
Jul 14
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The Dallas Mavericks still have to formally sign Dirk Nowitzki and Devin Harris, which would take up the rest of their cap space. When asked about the idea of altering the agreements with both players in order to create more space, Cuban said that wasn't going to happen.

"I wouldn't ask them to do that. We're good," Cuban said. "We're set. We have our 2.7 [million-dollar exception]. We'll go from there."

The Mavs clearly have a couple of different areas they will want to improve in, and they'll pick the best player in those different areas.

Big man coming
The Mavs acquired Greg Smith in a trade with the Chicago Bulls in exchange for the rights to Tadija Dragievi on Monday, and it's expected that Smith will go through a physical on Tuesday and could be available for summer league play starting Wednesday.

Cuban went out of his way to say that Smith was a player the team has coveted for quite some time.

"We've been trying to trade for him for two years, so we're thrilled," Cuban said.

"He's a 5/4 [center/power forward], backing up Tyson and being able to bang. He's athletic and really skilled. He's young, so like most big men, it's going to take some time.

"He banged against Dwight [Howard] all last year, so he's got some experience there, too. He can play."

Cuban wasn't quick to rule that the addition of Smith would mark the end of DeJuan Blair's time in Dallas.

"Greg has a change to take Blair's place if DeJuan leaves," Cuban said. "There's a chance DeJuan stays. There's a chance we keep any of our guys. You never know."

That remains up in the air as ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported over the weekend that Dallas was in advanced negotiations with the Washington Wizards in regards to a potential sign-and-trade deal for Blair. There hasn't been any update in those talks.

Backing up Dirk
If the Mavs are limited in cap space, they will have to be creative in finding a backup for Nowitzki. If you ask Cuban, it appears the search may not be that hard.

"B-Wright [Brandan Wright] will play more 4," Cuban said. "Right now, there's guys that we think will be minimum players but they don't want to be minimum players, so they're holding out to get the best offer they can get. We'll see what we can do."

That idea of Wright playing the power forward seems like more of a change in direction over recent seasons as the Mavs preferred to have a floor-spacing big man to back up Nowitzki. What has changed since then?

"He's had time with Devin [Harris]," Cuban said of Wright. "For us, the Devin/B-Wright combination is lethal. Chandler can throw a lob. He's good at that, too, so we'll see him in the pick-and-roll. I think we got a lot more versatile."

With Smith logging more minutes at center and Wright shifting to power forward, is it possible that Wright and Tyson Chandler could be on the floor together?

"Yeah, because as long as we put shooters around them," Cuban said.

With the addition of Parsons and veteran forward Richard Jefferson, the Mavs hope they will have acquired perimeter shooting with room for more.

"Guess who was second in the year on corner 3s last season," Cuban questioned.

"Monta. And Richard Jefferson shot above 40 percent and shot 49 percent on corner 3s. If you have one skill that you can be top-10 NBA, I want you even if the rest of you sucks because there's a situation where we can put you to work."

Ellis shot 54.2 percent on corner 3-pointers last season, to be specific.
This Dallas front office hit a dead end in its previous two trips down the road of restricted free agency.

Maybe the third time will be the charm for the Mavericks, who hope to have Chandler Parsons on the roster after the Rockets' three-day period to match the three-year, $46 million offer sheet expires late Sunday night.

Until then, Mavs fans can pass the time pondering what might have been if the previous two restricted free agents signed by the franchise actually ended up in Dallas.

[+] EnlargeMichael Redd
Gary Dineen/Getty ImagesMichael Redd was nearly a Maverick, but the Bucks matched an offer sheet for him and he went on to be a prolific scorer in Milwaukee.
Michael Redd: Redd would have been a huge steal for the Mavs, but his four-year, $12 million offer sheet was matched by Milwaukee in 2002.

Redd, a sweet-shooting lefty 2 guard, ended up averaging more than 21 points per game in five-plus straight seasons before a couple of serious knee injuries wrecked his career midway through what should have been his prime.

Redd was a bench player coming off averaging 11.4 points in his second NBA season when the Mavs made their play for him. He blossomed as a sixth man the next season before moving into the Bucks' starting lineup and becoming a star.

The development of Redd into a premier scorer would have been perfectly timed to Michael Finley's decline with the Mavs. Finley, a foundation piece in Dallas' transition from league laughingstock to contender, played three more seasons for the Mavs before being waived via the amnesty clause.

The Mavs moved on after the flirtation with Redd by signing Walt Williams and Raja Bell to one-year deals. Dallas won 60 games and advanced to the West finals in 2002-03 -- with Williams and Bell splitting time in the starting lineup, and Nick Van Exel firing away as the sixth man in his only full season with the Mavs --– but Redd would have been a part of the franchise's core for years to come.

[+] EnlargeMarcin Gortat
Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesHad Marcin Gortat joined Dallas when the Mavs had their eye on him, he probably would have saved Mark Cuban a lot of money.
Marcin Gortat: The 7-footer had played fewer than 900 minutes as a project backing up Dwight Howard when the Mavs offered him the full midlevel exception. The Mavs, firmly believing they'd found a big man to bump Erick Dampier to the bench, were stunned when the Magic matched the offer.

Months later, the Magic flipped Gortat in a Vince Carter-fronted package to the Phoenix Suns in the deal that brought Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu to Orlando. Gortat soon emerged as a quality starting center.

After the deal he originally signed with Dallas finally expired this summer, Gortat cashed in with a five-year, $60 million deal from the Washington Wizards, who traded for him before last season.

It's hard to figure how getting Gortat would have changed the future for the Mavs.

Would the Mavs have still used the chip of Dampier's instantly expiring contract to trade for Tyson Chandler the next summer? Would the Mavs have instead decided to roll the dice on the deal they discussed for Al Jefferson, knowing they had a traditional center on the roster already?

It's safe to assume that Gortat being in the mix would have saved Mark Cuban a lot of money. The Mavs wouldn't have felt pressured to give Brendan Haywood a big contract that eventually got the amnesty ax.

In fact, Haywood probably never would have come to Dallas, where he was shipped in a seven-player deal before the 2010 deadline. One of the players Dallas sent to Washington in that deal was Drew Gooden, a power forward who played backup center for the Mavs, who signed him after missing out on Gortat.

Dallas won the 2011 title with Chandler as the defensive anchor and an emotional leader, so it's hard for the Mavs to be too mad about missing out on Gortat. But it sure would have been nice to have a reasonably priced big man on the roster who could score, rebound and protect the rim the last five years.
The Dallas Mavericks might be in love with Lance Stephenson by Monday morning. Or maybe they'll rekindle the flame with Shawn Marion.

At that point, if the Houston Rockets exercise their right to prevent Chandler Parsons from leaving for Dallas, the Mavs could have that closing-time feel. When the favorite targets have left the dance floor, a sense of desperation kicks in and flaws are a lot easier to overlook.

The concerns about Stephenson's character caused the Mavs to consider him untouchable not too long ago. Now, he's at the top of their list of Parsons fallback targets, by process of elimination as much as anything.

The free-agent small forwards flew off the board Saturday. It started with Trevor Ariza signing a four-year, $32 million deal with the Rockets. Paul Pierce went to the Washington Wizards for $11 million over two years. And the Miami Heat are close to locking up Luol Deng to a two-year deal in the $20 million range.

If Deng does commit to Miami, that leaves Stephenson and Marion as the starting-quality small forwards left in free agency, in the eyes of the Mavs. Of course, the 6-foot-5 Stephenson is really a shooting guard whom the Mavs would shift to small forward out of necessity in the Mavs' starting lineup. And the Dallas decision-makers have done everything in their power to replace the 36-year-old Marion, with all due respect to a man who has arguably earned the right to have his No. 0 hang from the American Airlines Center rafters in the not-too-distant future.

If denied Parsons, the Mavs probably will swallow hard and try to sign Stephenson, who has a five-year, $44 million offer on the table to return to the Indiana Pacers.

They'd be betting on the upside of a talented if erratic 23-year-old who joined Kevin Durant, Kevin Love and Nicolas Batum as the league's only players to average at least 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists last season. The Mavs might try to minimize the risk by offering a higher salary on a short-term deal.

An offer for Marion, who has said he hopes to play two more seasons before retiring in the Dallas area, would obviously be short term. It probably would be in the range of $5 million per year, leaving the Mavs plenty of wiggle room under the salary cap, not that there are many appealing options left at any positions in the market.

Cuban talks LeBron, free-agent options

July, 12, 2014
Jul 12
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LAS VEGAS -- LeBron James' decision to go back home to the Cleveland Cavaliers sent shock waves around the league. The city of Cleveland is certainly happy. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he thought James' decision was a positive one.

"I think it's great for the league," Cuban said as he was watching the Mavs' summer league team play. "As someone who grew up in Pittsburgh, it's great to see the old-school cities like Pittsburgh and Cleveland, we're usually the brunt of the jokes and people talk about leaving.

[+] EnlargeLeBron James
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsLeBron James' decision to return home to Cleveland resonated with Mavs owner Mark Cuban, who is from Pittsburgh.
"It's always good when I go back to Pittsburgh and it's just that type city. It's a Pittsburgh city and Cleveland is very similar. It's great for the area and the city."

James took a massive public-relations hit in 2010 for his one-hour televised special announcing he would join the Miami Heat. Cuban says he believes that time has done wonders for James and his approach to his latest decision.

"It's obvious that LeBron has grown up quite a bit since 'The Decision,'" Cuban said. "How he handled it, his words, his approach were night and day. I think he deserves a lot of respect."

Here are other highlights from Cuban's chat:

Still in doubt
The clock continues to tick as the Houston Rockets have to decide if they're going to match the Mavs' offer for restricted free agent Chandler Parsons. The Rockets have until 10:59 p.m. CT Sunday to decide whether to exercise their right to match the three-year, $46 million offer sheet Parsons signed with the Mavs.

"No," Cuban replied when asked if he had any inkling what Houston would do. "It's just a waiting game. I know what I would do. I don't expect them to do anything different."

Cuban wouldn't divulge what he would do in the situation.

(Read full post)

DALLAS -- Maybe this math won't matter, but it's hard to consider it an encouraging sign that the Dallas Mavericks got less than half as much face time with Carmelo Anthony as the Houston Rockets and about a quarter as much as the Chicago Bulls.

But the Mavs knew all along that it was a long shot for them to talk Anthony into taking a less-than-max deal to come to Dallas.

Realizing their dark horse status in the Melo derby, the Dallas decision-makers have put a lot of thought into their Plan B options. They'll be prepared to pounce if they don't pull off the upset of signing Anthony.

The problem is it could be pretty slim pickings on that tier of small forwards in free agency.

Houston's Chandler Parsons and Utah's Gordon Hayward are fine young small forwards who would fit especially well offensively with their perimeter strokes and ability to create for themselves and teammates. Too bad they are restricted free agents whose teams have made it clear they intend to exercise their right to match any offers.

Maybe the Mavs call the bluff of the Rockets or Jazz, but that would mean they either pay more than the value point they placed on one of the players, or are left still looking after the three-day waiting period.

The Mavs would certainly have to pay a premium price to pry Trevor Ariza, a 3-point and defensive specialist coming off a career year, away from the Washington Wizards.

That leaves Luol Deng, a defensive stopper and 16-point-per-game career scorer who would arrive in Dallas without a reliable 3-point shot and with significant durability issues. He also doesn't want to take much of a pay cut from the $14.7 million salary he made last season, while the Mavs view his value in the high seven figures annually.

In this market, it's a good bet Deng would get his eight-digit salary. There are simply too many teams with salary-cap space that are searching for a starting small forward, with the Bulls (if they don't get Anthony), Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Lakers among his other suitors.

The question the Dallas front office might have to ask itself: Would the Mavs be better off giving Deng a $12 million-per-year deal or attempting to build a roster with great depth?

Say they do the Deng deal. At that point, they probably have to choose between Devin Harris or Vince Carter with the $5 million or so of cap space they'd have left at that point, and attempt to fill a glaring need for bench scoring or point guard with their cap-room exception ($2.7 million per year for no more than two seasons).

If they go for depth, they could probably re-sign Shawn Marion as the starter, bring back Harris and Carter, have room for a high-upside project like Al-Farouq Aminu and still have the cap-room exception (D.J. Augustin?). With a roster like that, they could rely on coach Rick Carlisle to work his sideline wizardry, mixing and matching to get the most out of a rotation that would be 10 or 11 players deep.

In the depth scenario, the Mavs would also have several lower-priced pieces that could be assets in the trade market, while Deng would likely be difficult to move with a large, long-term deal.

The Mavs have put a lot of effort into Plan B options, but Plan C might be a better path.

Melo meeting lasts two hours

July, 2, 2014
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DALLAS -- The third stop on Carmelo Anthony's free-agency tour was the shortest so far, as his meeting with the Dallas Mavericks lasted a little longer than two hours.

Anthony spent approximately nine hours with the Chicago Bulls' contingent on Tuesday, including dinner after a session at the United Center and tour of the team's under-construction facilities.

The perennial All-Star forward spent almost six hours with the Houston Rockets' recruiting committee, starting at the Toyota Center and continuing at lunch.

The Mavs' meeting with Anthony, who will visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday before listening to the New York Knicks' pitch to re-sign him, occurred at owner Mark Cuban's mansion, a source said.

The Bulls and Rockets made public displays of their affection for Anthony, posting large, photoshopped signs outside their arenas of him wearing No. 7 in their respective uniforms.

There was no such pomp and circumstances from the Mavs. Dallas' meat-and-potatoes pitch emphasized the opportunity to contend immediately with elite coach Rick Carlisle, selfless star Dirk Nowitzki and a quality supporting cast featuring high-scoring guard Monta Ellis and defense-minded center Tyson Chandler. The Mavs also focused on the creativity and proven track record of the front office, stressing their plan to sustain a contender throughout Anthony's prime and ability to add at least one more major piece next summer.

The Mavs will wait on Anthony's decision, but sources told ESPN.com that Dallas is ready to move on quickly to Rockets restricted free agent Chandler Parsons or Luol Deng if it doesn't land Anthony.

Mavs, Bucks not talking sign-and-trade

July, 3, 2013
7/03/13
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There are no discussions about a sign-and-trade deal involving O.J. Mayo between the Dallas Mavericks and Milwaukee Bucks, sources told ESPN.com's Marc Stein on Wednesday.

The sources said the Mavs are prepared to let Mayo leave and move on to other business. Mayo is close to agreeing to a multiyear deal with Milwaukee after averaging 15.3 points and 4.4 assists during his lone season in Dallas.

The Mavs had discussed sign-and-trade scenarios with other Mayo suitors, including talks with the Clippers that would have made ready-to-start 23-year-old point guard Eric Bledsoe a Maverick. However, the Clippers ended up agreeing to terms with shooting guard J.J. Redick instead, sending Bledsoe to the Suns in a three-team sign-and-trade deal.

All possible Mayo sign-and-trade scenarios were part of the Mavs' contingency plans if Dwight Howard doesn't decide to come to Dallas. The Mavs would have had to renounce Mayo's rights as part of the process of clearing enough salary-cap space to sign Howard to a max contract.

Monta Ellis, who opted out of making $11 million to stay in Milwaukee next season, is among the free-agent guards the Mavs have expressed interest in this summer. Those talks have yet to become "substantive," according to a source. The Mavs are in a holding pattern while Howard ponders his decision.

The Mavs are also intrigued by Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings, but Milwaukee has made it clear that the intention is to match any offer for the restricted free agent.

Mavs closing in on deal with Jason Kidd

July, 5, 2012
7/05/12
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Jason Kidd appears prepared to end his career where he started it -- with the Dallas Mavericks.

The 39-year-old is closing in on a multiyear deal, a source close to the situation said. The source said the deal is not completed, but barring any snags, Kidd will close out his career alongside Dirk Nowitzki.

The value of the contract was not known.

After a rough few days that saw prized free agent Deron Williams opt to re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets, Jason Terry agree to terms with the Boston Celtics and then another Mavs target Steve Nash stunningly get traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Mavs are finally nearing their first positive move of a so-far frustrating free-agent period by bringing back Kidd.

Read the whole story here.

When NBA free agency begins at midnight July 1, Brooklyn Nets star guard Deron Williams will be choosing from a two-team list that only features the Nets and the Dallas Mavericks, according to sources close to the situation.

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Senior NBA writer Marc Stein has some bad news for Mavs fans in regards to Deron Williams.

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Sources told ESPN.com on Saturday night that, while this summer's No. 1 free agent remains "up in the air" about which team he'll ultimately chose, Williams already has made the decision to narrow his list of potential destinations to those two franchises.

Other teams, including the Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets, had been hoping to lodge their own bids for Williams once free agency begins, sources said. The Los Angeles Lakers, likewise have continued to express interest in a sign-and-trade package built around Pau Gasol for Williams, sources say, despite the Nets' longstanding insistence that they have no interest in Gasol and would only consider such a move if they were getting back All-Star center Andrew Bynum, whom the Lakers have not made available.

Sources say Williams, in any case, already has instructed his representatives to advise any team that calls starting at 12:01 a.m. July 1 that he intends to either re-sign with the Nets or return to his hometown with the Mavericks after a glittering high school career in the Dallas area.

Read the rest of the story here.

Who mans middle for Mavs next season?

June, 4, 2012
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Let’s take a glass-half-full view of the Mavs’ offseason. That means we’ll assume that they’ll succeed in recruiting Deron Williams to come home but won’t be able to persuade the Orlando Magic to take an inferior package to ship Dwight Howard to Dallas.

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Which of these centers should the Mavs target in free agency?

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    19%
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If the amnesty clause is used on Brendan Haywood to create cap space as expected, how would the Mavs fill their huge hole in the middle?

They could just re-sign free agent Ian Mahinmi and pair him with Brandan Wright, but it’s hard to see the Mavs emerging as a legitimate contender without more of a presence at center. There are plenty of options in the free agent market.

A look at the most attractive available big men:

Roy Hibbert (restricted): The 7-foot-2, 260-pound Hibbert has great size and good skills. He’s only 25, so there is still room to grow in his game after he averaged 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks this season. He’d be by far the best low-post threat ever to be paired with Dirk Nowitzki. But the Pacers have the right to match any offer he gets, a ton of cap space and executive of the year Larry Bird calling the shots. If the Mavs get Hibbert, it probably means they’ve significantly overpaid another big man.

Kevin Garnett: The 36-year-old KG sure looks like he has a lot left in the tank during these playoffs. His regular-season minutes must be managed, but Garnett is still a major defensive force and good scorer and rebounder. He’ll take a pay cut after making $21 million this season and almost $300 million in his career, but Garnett won’t come cheap. It’s hard to see the Celtics letting him go when they have a chance to contend.

[+] EnlargeOmer Asik
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesOmer Asik, 24, is a dominant defender and a good rebounder, averaging 5.3 rebounds and a block in only 14.7 minutes per game this season. However, he definely needs to improve on offense.
Omer Asik (restricted): Asik, the Turkish product who turns 26 on July 4, is a dominant defender, a 7-footer who can protect the rim and disrupt pick-and-rolls. He’s a very good rebounder. And he’s an awful offensive player with hands that make Haywood’s look good in comparison. Could that change with the Mavs coaching staff dedicating time to work with him? He’s also a restricted free agent, but the Bulls are already in luxury tax land and might not match a decent offer for Joakim Noah’s backup.

Marcus Camby: He’s 38 years old and doesn’t offer much offensively any more, but Camby could be an affordable stopgap solution. He’s still a defensive presence in the paint, averaging 9.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 22.9 minutes per game last season. Camby becoming a Maverick would probably mean that neither side was satisfied with what they found in the free agency market.

JaVale McGee (restricted): He tends to be comically boneheaded, but he’s a freakish athlete for a 7-footer and is talented enough to put up a 21-point, 14-rebound performance in a playoff win over the Lakers. He’s one of the league’s best shot blockers and finishers, but his basketball IQ hovers around his jersey number. He’s also only 24 years old, with the potential to be really, really good if a coaching staff can ever get through to him. Then again, he also has the potential to make an owner regret signing his paychecks every couple of weeks for the next four years.

Chris Kaman: Dirk’s German Olympic teammate would be the best offensive center in Mavs history, although his .446 shooting percentage for the Hornets last season isn’t exactly appealing. He’s a good post defender and shot blocker. He’s also injury prone, having missed major chunks of four of the last five seasons. How can the Mavs feel comfortable making a major investment in a 30-year-old with that medical record?

Brook Lopez (restricted): He’s a skilled, high-scoring young 7-footer who wouldn’t be a good fit with Dirk. The Mavs can’t afford to have a slow, subpar-rebounding, poor-defending big man on the floor with Dirk, especially if that center is expensive. Lopez missed all but five games last season, but he managed to score 38 points in a win over the Mavs.

Spencer Hawes: He’s a 24-year-old former lottery pick who has had some bright moments as the Sixers’ starting center the last two seasons, although he was injured for much of this year. But his game isn’t a good fit with Dirk’s. He’s a finesse big man who lives on long jumpers and too often doesn’t carry his weight defensively.

Robin Lopez (restricted): He’s 24 years old, stands 7 feet tall and has some experience. He’s a pretty good shot blocker and pick-and-roll finisher, but he’s slow-footed, an amazingly awful passer and a poor rebounder. He’s not a starting-caliber center.

Greg Oden: Oden might not play at all next season. Heck, he might never play again after knee injuries made the big man picked before Kevin Durant a bust in Portland. But the Mavs’ medical staff, which helped everyone forget about Tyson’s Chandler’s injury history, could give Oden his best chance at having a respectable NBA career. It’s worth a minimum-salary flyer to find out if Oden can get and stay healthy enough to become the dominant defensive presence he was expected to be.

Erick Dampier: Just checking to see if you’re still paying attention.
One thing Deron Williams knows for certain is that nobody knows which team he will sign with this summer.

Williams made that clear during an impromptu session with Nets beat writers Tuesday.

“I want to reiterate, I don’t know what I’m doing next year,” Williams said, according to the Bergen Record. “Still. Nobody does but me. Not even my mom, my brother, my uncle, my cousin. I haven’t talked to anybody about where I’m going next year.”

Williams hammered home the point that he hasn’t made a decision yet and was reportedly annoyed by the speculation that he will be picking between the Nets and Mavericks.

“I can’t know where I’m going to go because I haven’t talked to any teams, because I’m not allowed to talk to any teams,” Williams said. “So I haven’t had any contact with anybody, so there’s no decision to be made right now. I just hate that people think they know where I’m going, because I don’t know where I’m going. So there’s no way for them to know or assume that I’m going to Dallas or that I’m staying here. I don’t know. There could be another team that comes into the picture.”

Williams doesn’t want his every move before free agency opens on July 1 to be analyzed for clues on which way he’s leaning.

He said he continues to work out at the Nets facility as a matter of convenience, adding that he has sold his house in San Diego and is in the process of selling his house in Utah and that his children are in school until the end of next month. His recent trip to Europe, which included spending some time with Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, was just a vacation.

“People say I’m staying here for sure because I went to Russia,” Williams said. “Yeah, I went to Russia. I’ve never been to Russia. [Former Jazz teammate Andrei Kirilenko has] been telling me to come to Russia for the last six years, so I went to Russia. It was close to Turkey. I went to Turkey because I love Turkey, I played there for three months, I wanted to see my teammates, I wanted to check out some games, so I went to Istanbul.”

Oh, and if you see Williams around the Metroplex over the next week, don’t read much into that, either.

“I’m from there,” Williams said. “My mom lives there. My brother lives there. My aunt, my uncles live there. I’m going there to have my son’s birthday party. I’m going Thursday through Tuesday.”

We’ll find out in July whether Williams will be back on a regular basis.

Mavericks favored to land Deron Williams?

May, 10, 2012
5/10/12
5:49
PM CT


ESPN Insider Chris Sprow discusses if the Dallas Mavericks are the favorite to land Deron Williams.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsS. Marion 6.5
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9