With the Free Agency period getting closer, and the Mavs having plenty of financial flexibility, the speculation begins. The Mavs have seemingly been a candidate for just about every big free agent rumored so far. As we have seen in the past Plan A does not always come through and it is important to have a good B and C plan. While Luol Deng, Marcin Gortat, Lance Stephenson, and yes even Carmelo Anthony have been looked at as possibilities, a maybe more reasonable target has emerged; Trevor Ariza.
Ariza made $7.73 million in the 2013-2014 season and will certainly demand a higher pay check after seeing the impact he made this year and during the playoffs. His WAR for the Wizards was 5.8. WAR is a stat on ESPN that calculates your Wins Above Replacement, meaning he gives your team close to six more wins above his replacement, showing how much value he has for your team. A stat is meaningless without a little persepective, 5.8 puts him at 74th in the NBA. 74th is just below Lance Stephenson, Reggie Jackson and Tyson Chandler. He was a huge part in the surprise that was the Wizards this year. He marked the opponent’s number one scorer for much of the year and still put up 14.4 points per game and 6 rebounds. This defensive presence is something the Mavericks desperately need and at 28 years old, a three or four year contract would still be within his prime.
While Trevor Ariza may ask for a large chunk of money it won’t be the max. If the Mavs miss out on Deng, Stephenson, and Melo Dallas could be an intriguing possibility. Ariza may look around and see that there aren’t a ton of options available any longer. Although just resigning with the Wizards could be an option, I doubt they would be able to offer the money he is looking for. With the contract of Nene, John Wall, and also having to have the money to resign Bradley Beal, there won’t be a ton to go around.
The Mavericks could provide Ariza with another winning option, but with a team full of proven veterans, but the young talent that the Wizards possess has obviously caught his attention:
Trevor Ariza on #wizards: “I think this is a really good destination. Free agents would be crazy not to want to come here.”
— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) May 16, 2014
How He Would Fit In:
For the Mavs, Ariza would only be our third or fourth scorer on the team. This would mean he would have plenty of energy to mark the opponents top scorer. With all the space Dirk Nowitzki provides for his teammates and Monta Ellis and his ability to penetrate, Ariza would get plenty of open threes, his offensive specialty. I can picture a Monta and Dirk pick and roll with Ariza sitting in the corner with space to hit in rhythm three pointers.
With the addition of Ariza, and Dirk taking less money, we would still have plenty for a big time center. Let’s say we land either Ariza’s teammate, Marcin Gortat, or Tyson Chandler comes back to Dallas. We would then have a Calderon, Ellis, Ariza, Dirk, and Gortat/Chandler lineup. While I still do not believe this would be enough to contend, it would still be a great improvement from last year. With a deep bench I could see this lineup making a run.
Photo Credits: Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post ; Paul Buck
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