A source said the Mavs are still optimistic about re-signing their sixth man. However, the three-year deal worth more than $45 million for Parsons would use the Mavs' remaining cap space if the Houston Rockets don't exercise their right to match the offer to the restricted free agent small forward.
The Mavs are hopeful Carter will agree to take the cap room exception of $2.73 million, the source said.
That's not the kind of offer the 37-year-old sixth man hoped to get after being a Mavs bargain the last three seasons, when he averaged a little more than $3 million per year. But Carter has made it clear that he'd prefer to continue playing in Dallas, and the Mavs have successfully convinced Dirk Nowitzki and Devin Harris to agree to re-sign on team-friendly terms.
The Mavs didn't enter free agency planning to pay $15 million per year to a small forward who wasn't a perennial All-Star. They had anticipated that their Plan B targets would top out in the $12 million range, but they went big in calling the Rockets' bluff on restricted free agent Parsons.
It's not clear what kind of market there is for Carter. The Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers are among the teams to express interest in him, but they've committed their $5.3 midlevel exceptions to other players. The Toronto Raptors and Oklahoma City Thunder have also been connected to Carter.
For the Mavs to give Carter a raise, they'd have to create cap space with a salary-dumping trade. For instance, if the Mavs could convince a team to take Raymond Felton off their hands, that would create a $3.79 million slot for Carter. In that case, it would make sense for the Mavs to attempt to sign point guard Mo Williams with the cap room exception.
At this point, however, Felton remains in the Mavs' plans. As does Carter, if the price is right for him.