Mavs' history of rejection in restricted free agency

July, 13, 2014
Jul 13
8:00
AM CT
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.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
19.7 2.1 0.5 28.4
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 11.3
AssistsM. Ellis 4.8
StealsM. Ellis 1.3
BlocksB. Wright 1.5