Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Dallas Mavericks [Print without images]

Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Mavs mailbag: Carmelo Anthony to Dallas?

By Tim MacMahon

Carmelo Anthony
Would Carmelo Anthony really leave about $30 million on the table by bolting New York for the Mavs?
The trade deadline has passed and the Mavericks are one of the NBA's hottest teams, winning nine of the last 11 games.

So, of course, we should fast forward and discuss summer possibilities.

This edition of the Mavs have actually given us plenty to talk about, but one particular question about this year's free agency scene fascinates me, so we'll start with that.

Do you think Carmelo Anthony would ever consider Dallas instead of LA or staying in NY? -- @MaziRabiee on Twitter

I'm skeptical, to say the least. It's well known that his wife, the beautiful and apparently talented La La, wants to be in one of the biggest media markets. And as much as Melo says it's all about winning for him now, I'll believe that he'll leave more than $30 million on the table when I see it.

Per ESPN salary cap expert Larry Coon, the Knicks can offer Melo a max deal of $129.1 million over five years. Other teams can offer him $95.9 million over four years.

The Mavs would love to land a legitimate superstar to pair with Dirk Nowitzki, but a strong argument could be made that Melo doesn't make sense for Dallas at that price. The Mavs would have to do some significant roster trimming to free up that much cap space, unless Dirk took a historically unprecedented pay cut.

If the Mavs did sign Melo to a max deal, they'd be handcuffed as far as building a roster around him because he'd eat up so much of the cap. I'm not sure that'd be a wise path to take with a player who has proven to be a great scorer but not a great winner.

A decade into his career, Melo has been out of the first round only twice. Would pairing him with the golden-years version of Dirk really make the Mavs contenders? Of course, the other way to look at it is, do the Mavs have a better plan to try to maximize the final few seasons of Dirk's career?

And it's probably all a moot point anyway, due to all that money Melo would give up by leaving his beloved Big Apple.

Can we please clone Dirk and have him play on the Mavs forever? Serious question. -- @rrodrig305 on Twitter

Well, Mark Cuban has gone to great lengths to make sure the Mavs are at the forefront of all the ways science can extend and enhance athletic careers. I don't believe they've delved into cloning quite yet, but I've always been suspicious of those cryogenics machines.

Should the Mavs have drafted Paul Pierce with their first pick in the 1998 NBA Draft? -- @cpcreasy on Twitter

Oh, I think the Mavs are pleased with that goofy German kid who ended up being the centerpiece of a franchise that won 50 games for 11 straight season, made two Finals trips and won the 2011 title.

How much deeper would the @dallasmavs playoff probability increase if Dirk and Vince Carter were in their prime? One and done? -- @SleazyBumpkin on Twitter

I'm sensing a sarcastic tone in this mailbag. Nevertheless, I'd like the Mavs chances to do some serious damage in the West if Dirk and Carter were both putting up 25 points per game. However, it'd have been pretty hard to get Carter to play for a salary of a little more than $3 million when he was Half Man, Half Amazing.

Are there any "bought-out" free agents you see the Mavs seriously pursuing? Who would the Mavs drop in that case? -- @Andrew_Cooley on Twitter

OK, we're getting serious now. Cuban broached this subject while speaking to reporters last night at Madison Square Garden. He basically said not to get your hopes up.

Danny Granger, who is likely to get a buyout from the 76ers, seems to be the guy folks are asking about the most. After all his knee trouble, he's not the All-Star he used to be, but it'd be nice to have him fill the Jae Crowder/Wayne Ellington role. It just isn't likely to happen.

All the Mavs can offer is the minimum, so they can't outbid other teams like they did for Corey Brewer in 2011. And Granger is likely to get interest from teams who are higher above the Mavs in the playoff pecking order.

If the Mavs want to add a player, it wouldn't be hard to make room on the roster. Fourth-string center Bernard James is playing on an expiring minimum contract.

Should the Mavs pick up Metta World Peace? -- David (Dallas)

I'm confident saying this won't happen. Remember Cuban mocking the Lakers for adding a toxic player to their mix when they acquired Ron Artest? That was back when he could still play. The Mavs aren't going to give World Peace a chance now. (Sorry, had to go for the bad line.)

Winning nine out of their last 11 Games, how do deep can these Mavs go in the postseason? -- @Dnorde on Twitter

The win at Indiana was impressive, but other than that, all the Mavs have really done is taken care of business during the softest stretch of their schedule. I still see this as a team that is unlikely to get out of the first round.

Having said that, the Mavs can change a lot of minds over the next few weeks. Let's see how they do against a stretch of schedule that includes road games against the San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder and home games against the Portland Trail Blazers and Indiana Pacers. If the Mavs manage to win a majority of those games, we might have to start taking them seriously as a threat to do playoff damage.

What do we make of Wayne Ellington getting Jae Crowder's minutes on this road trip? Is Rick Carlisle riding the more effective (for now) player? Or did something happen in the last few weeks of practice or game film to make coach reconsider his rotations? -- Kirk (Washington, D.C.)

I wasn't on this trip, so I haven't had a chance to ask Carlisle about it. I didn't see a drop-off in Crowder's play, which isn't pretty unless you look at the net rating. He's at plus-13.2 points per 100 possessions in February, which is actually his best month of the season. My hunch is that Ellington earned more minutes in practice.

What percentage do you give guys like Devin Harris, Shawn Marion and Vince Carter of returning next season? -- Jose (Duncanville)

The Mavs have interest in bringing all of them back -- at the team's price point, of course. The probabilities will also be impacted by which free agents the Mavs are able to get. For instance, if the Mavs sign Luol Deng, it significantly decreases the odds of Marion returning. At this point, I'd say there's a pretty good chance Harris will be back, a decent chance Carter returns and a slightly smaller chance that Marion will remain a Mav.