The Dallas Mavericks believe they can sign a quality player with their $2.7 million cap-room exception. They just don't want to drop many hints about who that might be at the moment.
Mo Williams, the veteran guard who the Mavs had flirted with throughout the free agency process, has better offers on the table, sources confirmed. Agent Mark Bartelstein declined to discuss which teams are bidding on Williams, saying only that they are looking at several scenarios, many of which are fluid due to a variety of factors. Bartelstein did not rule out the possibility of Williams signing with the Mavs.
However, a source said that there is one target for the $2.7 million slot who the Mavs have higher on their board than Williams.
Who is that target? Mum is the word from the Mavs.
Here are a few educated guesses, none of which Mavs sources would independently confirm or deny:
Evan Turner: This would be an awfully low price for a player four years removed from being the second overall pick in the draft, but Turner certainly didn’t help his stock after a midseason trade to the Indiana Pacers, averaging only 3.3 points as a bit player during the playoffs. A short-term deal in Dallas might allow Turner to showcase his skills as a sixth man and give the Mavs a high-upside replacement for Vince Carter with scoring and ball-handling ability. The 6-foot-7 Turner averaged 13.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game as a starter for the 34-48 76ers in 2012-13.
Jordan Crawford: He’s a 25-year-old gunner who has bounced around the league, already playing for four teams. The 6-foot-4 Crawford, who can only play shooting guard, is a streaky shooter who has averaged 12.2 points per game during his career, hitting only 40.5 percent of his field-goal attempts and 30.6 from long range. But his last two games against the Mavs might have left a pretty good impression. He had a pair of 19-point performances in Warriors wins over Dallas in March and April, going 15-of-22 from the floor in those two games.
Jameer Nelson: Nelson, who spent his entire 10-year career with the Orlando Magic before the rebuilding team recently released him, might be the best point guard on the roster if he signed with the Mavs. He averaged 12.1 points and 7.0 assists last seasons, numbers pretty similar to his career stats, and he is a better spot-up 3-point shooter than Raymond Felton or Devin Harris. His 44 games of playoff experience could also be attractive to the Mavs. Then again, a point guard with his credentials might be able to get significantly more than $2.7 million.