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Monday, May 5, 2014
Will Shawn Marion return to Mavs?

By Bryan Gutierrez

SAN ANTONIO -- Shawn Marion's contractual status now becomes an interesting talking point as the conversation shifts from play on the floor to offseason strategies and salary cap implications. Marion's five-year contract will expire at the end of the league's calendar year, making him a free agent July 1.

With his team down 30 and with 5:47 left on the clock, Marion was subbed out of the game, potentially marking his final time in Dallas uniform. Marion scored just five points and pulled down three rebounds in just over 20 minutes of action in the Game 7 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

While free agency creates a lot of opportunities, Marion isn't ready to shut the door on staying a Maverick.

"I would," Marion said when asked if he would like to return. "I'm weighing my options."

Marion's market might won't be strong, but teams such as the Oklahoma City Thunder or Miami Heat would clearly see value in adding his versatility to their rotations. The Mavs could outbid those contenders, but it isn’t clear how much of a financial commitment they’re willing to make to Marion.

Another thing to consider will be Marion's age. The defensive weapon will be 36 years old when the 2014-15 season begins. Nonetheless, it can't be understated the amount of value he brings to the Mavs, considering the amount of shortcomings they have on the defensive end of the floor.

Whether it is Mark Cuban, Rick Carlisle or whomever you ask, everyone in the organization appreciates what Marion has done in his time for the organization. He was instrumental in the team winning their first NBA championship back in 2011 as he defended the likes of Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.

When Carlisle started to rattle off the names of the free agents on the roster, Marion's was the first name to pop up.

"Marion has had five great years here," Carlisle said.

There's admiration on both sides, between the organization and Marion, but basketball is always going to come down to dollars and sense. Marion made $9.3 million in the final year of his contract this season. The Mavs would like to see if Marion would be willing to take a significant pay cut as they continue to try to strengthen their roster.

If they decide to go with someone else, the Mavs can look at throwing their cap space at New York Knicks' star Carmelo Anthony. Being more realistic, if they choose to go more with a Marion replacement, they can look at Cleveland Cavaliers forward Luol Deng or Washington Wizards forward Trevor Ariza as options.

While Marion would like to return to Dallas, there's still a lot that can happen between now and July 1. It will have to begin with conversations, which haven't formally happened yet.

"No, we haven’t talked about that stuff yet," Marion said. "We’ve got a while until July 1. I’m going to relax for a little while."

While it's assumed that Dirk Nowitzki will re-sign with Dallas, the status of the other remaining member of the 2011 championship roster remains up in the air.