Dallas Mavericks: 2012 NBA free agency



Finally a dose of good news during this miserable Mavs offseason: There will be a reunion of the German Olympic team’s frontcourt in Dallas.

Center Chris Kaman will sign a one-year deal to join his friend Dirk Nowitzki next season.

OK, so Kaman isn’t the former All-Star the Mavs wanted this summer. And he wasn’t even tops on the list of Dirk pals that they targeted. But he is a quality center who can help the Mavs in their quest to extend their dozen-year playoff streak. It’s not a stretch to call Kaman the best offensive big man in Mavs history, although it is faint praise for a guy who averaged 18.5 points a few seasons ago.

More importantly, Kaman won’t prevent the Mavs from resuming their mission to find a legitimate superstar to pair with Nowitzki next summer. He’s coming to Dallas on a one-year deal for $8 million.

It’s to be determined if the addition of the injury-prone Kaman, a 30-year-old who averaged 13.1 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 47 games for the Hornets last season, means that the Mavs will move on from Brendan Haywood.

If the Mavs don’t use the amnesty clause on Haywood, Kaman’s salary would eat up the rest of their salary-cap space this summer, but they would have the midlevel and biannual exceptions to use on free agents. It might be wise to keep Haywood around, considering that Kaman has been sidelined for large chunks of four of the past five seasons.

(UPDATE: The Mavs will use the amnesty clause on Haywood, a source said. That frees up room to make a strong bid on Elton Brand in the amnesty waivers process.)

Kaman’s addition doesn’t make the Mavs a contender, but he can help them compete for a playoff spot. And the Mavs keep their powder dry for next summer.

That makes this a solid move for the Mavs in a summer that will be remembered for a spectacular swing and miss.

Grinding market: Players still available

July, 10, 2012
7/10/12
11:30
AM CT
After a big-money flurry during free agency's first week, things have slowed down considerably in week two, and those players still left on the market might be looking at lesser deals they didn't think they'd have to take.

With the coming crunch of the new tax penalty, teams are becoming increasingly wary of handing out multiyear contracts. As Dallas Mavericks fan have quickly come to realize, the local plan is to sign up players preferably on one-year deals. Dallas might be able to hand out a higher salary for the one year than a player might be able to make in the first year of a multiyear deal with another team, then setting the player up to become a free agent again in 2013.

That's the type of decision with which a player such as point guard Ramon Sessions is likely to grapple. He wants to start, and the security of a multiyear was initially high on his priority list. The Mavs can offer a starting job, but not the security.

Over the last few days, some players have been taken off the board and others added.

Here's a look at five players at each position who remain on the board. Some are realistic options for the Mavs and some might not be. Dallas, still with just seven players under contract -- plus three draft picks -- needs reinforcements just about everywhere.

Point guard
Ramon Sessions
Raymond Felton
Randy Foye
Leandro Barbosa
C.J. Watson

Shooting guard
Lou Williams
O.J. Mayo
C.J. Miles
Courtney Lee
Marco Belinelli

Small forward
Josh Howard
Sam Young
Anthony Tolliver
Donte Green
Matt Barnes

Power forward
Kenyon Martin
Carl Landry
Anthony Randolph
Jordan Hill
Ronny Turiaf

Center
Chris Kaman
Mehmet Okur
Daniel Orton
Nazr Mohammed
Tony Battie

Donnie Nelson: Mavs don't regret strategy

July, 9, 2012
7/09/12
2:45
PM CT
It probably wasn't the answer Mavericks fans were looking for when Donnie Nelson was asked for the good news.

"The good news is it’s Monday morning and last week has passed us," Nelson said. "How about that? Get that one out of the way. Holy criminy."

PODCAST
Mavericks GM Donnie Nelson dishes on the team's inability to lure Deron Williams to Dallas, the free agency plan moving forward and much more.

Listen Listen
Yes, it was a crummy week for the Mavs starting last Tuesday when Deron Williams opted to re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets, a decision that could present repercussions for Dallas for years to come. Nelson, the Mavs' president of basketball operations, joined ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM on Monday morning to talk about losing out on Williams and what's next in free agency.

For starters, Nelson said he and owner Mark Cuban have no regrets about their strategy to let go of key pieces from the 2011 title team and swing for the fences in a superstar free agent.

"No, shoot, we were on the 5-yard line and felt good about it," Nelson said. "We were in a position to get a superstar, which is how you win championships in this league, so there are no regrets, none whatsoever. We would have done everything the same way. We didn’t punch it in the end zone. You can sit there and feel sorry for yourself or pick yourself up by the boot straps and jump back in the saddle."

OK, but where is the horse in the saddle headed? What is the goal now that Williams has said no, Jason Terry is headed to the Boston Celtics and Jason Kidd is on his way to the New York Knicks?

"I said it before, to win in this league, to win championships, you’ve got to have stars and so we’re looking at the possibility of doing that via trade," Nelson said. "We’ve got some exceptions that we have. We’ve got the $8.9 million exception that we picked up. ... There’s still quality players on the (free agency) board, although you certainly wouldn’t put them in the superstar category. So, the goal at this point is again, with the eye on a championship, is what can we do in the short-term and the mid-term to put ourselves in a position to acquire some of those top-line free agents or players on other teams?"

Acquiring Dwight Howard before the start of next summer via trade is not a feasible option. The Mavs don't have the trade assets to get a deal done, so they must hope that the Orlando Magic don't trade Howard to his preferred destination of Brooklyn and that he enters free agency in 2013, along with potentially Chris Paul and Andrew Bynum.

The Mavs will only acquire players for the coming season on short-term, inexpensive contracts that will keep their cap space open to add a max-contract free agent next summer.

"Well, again, if you look at the guys on the board besides D-Will and maybe one or two other type players, the rest you couldn’t really put in that category," Nelson said. "So keeping the powder dry is a term you’re going to hear a lot with a lot of teams in the NBA since the landscape is drastically changing, and the future of the league really is changing before our very eyes on a daily basis. Our position is we want to be players when it comes to getting star-quality talent."

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsS. Marion 6.5
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9