If the Dallas Mavericks dip into the free-agent market beyond their own guys seeking deals, they'll be looking for short-term, cheap labor. Whether center Tyson Chandler re-signs or not, the Mavs could be interested in a power forward that can do some pounding and boarding when Dirk Nowitzki takes a breather.
The Mavs relied on Shawn Marion to move between small and power forward, which he did so admirably, but Dallas could use some more beef in that role. Carl Landry, 28, is a quality garbage man that can score and grab some boards, but he's not a minimum guy. That doesn't mean the Mavs couldn't go after him with their mid-level exception ($5 million, if they don't go more than $4 million over the $70 million luxury tax threshold -- meaning no Chandler -- or $3 million if they do spill over). Chuck Hayes, also 28, is another quality guy always around the action. He can board and he improved his scoring last season, but he is also not a minimum-salary player.
Speaking of veteran-minimum guys, hard-nosed Brian Cardinal is always an option to bring back on a one-year, minimum contract and the Mavs have reached out to agent Mark Bartelstein. Still, Dallas could also take a look at others, especially if Chandler walks and rebounding becomes a higher priority. Here's two home-staters to consider:
Jeff Foster, 6-11, 236
The soon-to-be 35-year-old has spent all 12 years of his career with the Indiana Pacers, including four seasons playing for Rick Carlisle. He's a classic heart-on-his-sleeve grinder who'll give all he's got every game. Foster, born in San Antonio and played at the since-renamed Southwest Texas State, last season averaged 3.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in 16.8 minutes a game, which breaks down to 13.4 rebounds and 6.1 on the offensive glass per 36 minutes.
Kurt Thomas, 6-9, 230
It might a few years too late for the 39-year-old former TCU and Dallas Hillcrest star. He always seemed a perfect fit over the years for the Mavs, but he never quite made it (OK, he did play five games with Dallas in 1997-98). Thomas did have two brief stints with the San Antonio Spurs a few years ago, but didn't get the championship his career still lacks. Thomas, 39, would be a perfect fit in the locker room and if he's got anything (he did average 22.7 minutes, 4.1 points and 5.8 rebounds in 52 games) he could finally be a fit.