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Thursday, June 27, 2013
Free-agent PFs: Looking for budget-friendly Dirk backups

By Tim MacMahon

The fourth in ESPNDallas.com’s position-by-position series previewing the free agency market that opens July 1:

The only certainty about the Mavericks’ roster next season is that Dirk Nowitzki will start at power forward.

That means the Mavs aren’t in the market for established power forwards such as Josh Smith, Paul Millsap and David West. (No, they aren’t interested in Smith as a small forward. Especially not for the kind of money that he wants.)

The Mavs will explore budget-friendly possibilities to back up Nowitzki, preferably a guy with pick-and-pop ability. Some potential fits:

Matt Bonner: He’s an elite 3-point shooter, shooting 41.7 percent from long range in his career and better than that during his last three seasons in San Antonio. He’ll never be described as athletic and certainly isn’t a one-on-one defensive stopper, but he’s better than you might think on that end of the floor because he grasps team concepts so well. As a rebounder, he makes Dirk look like Dennis Rodman. The Spurs need to make a decision on Bonner by Saturday. That’s the deadline for buying out his $3.95 million salary for next season. He might be a fit for the Mavs in the $2 million range.

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Andray Blatche: He was a renowned knucklehead in Washington, prompting the Wizards to dump Blatche via the amnesty clause, but the 26-year-old was productive as a minimum-salary guy in Brooklyn, averaging 10.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in 19 minutes per game. He could also serve as a backup center. The Mavs have shown some interest in the 6-foot-11, 260-pound Blatche in the past. He could make sense for the room midlevel ($2.65 million).

Earl Clark: The 6-foot-10, 225-pound Clark has decent size and athleticism and showed the ability to at least be a streaky 3-point shooter last season. But the chances of him coming to Dallas are awfully slim. The Mavs don’t have enough interest in him to pay more than what the Lakers can give Clark.