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Should the Mavs Dread the “Max” Contract This Offseason?

Could these two be teammates within the next two weeks?


Before the taste of the freshly sprayed champagne left the champion Cleveland Cavaliers mouths last Sunday night, the insanity of the NBA offseason had officially begun.  Countless rumors began to swirl and fill everyone’s Twitter feed.  It would hard to find another team with as many rumors surrounding them as the Dallas Mavericks.


Whether it be Dirk Nowitzki’s potential move to Golden State, their alleged pursuit of Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley Jr. and Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside, or the interesting rumblings that they’re all but ready to say goodbye to forward Chandler Parsons… it has all been a lot to follow for the Mavs faithful.


While it’s certainly fun to play the speculation game, it’s important to know what exactly the Mavs are capable of doing and whether or not these players they’re pursuing are worth their potential price tags both in the present and future.


The NBA’s salary cap was announced to be headed north of $90 million for the 2016-2017 season.  With such a sharp rise from the $70 million cap this season, many teams, including Dallas, are going to have a lot more cap room to play with.  With a rising cap, however, comes rising contract values for elite NBA talent.


The term “max” is thrown around as much as a ball during this time of the year and its definition has changed for all levels of players throughout the league.  A “max” level contract is not equal in value for all players.  The amount a player’s contract can be is based on their time in the league.  The “max” levels are divided into three classifications:


  • 0-6 years of experience
  • 7-9 years
  • 10+ years


Each of those age groups has a different concrete starting salary for a “max” contract.    According to an article from, the 0-6 years of experience (players like Chandler Parsons and Hassan Whiteside) contracts would begin at $21.56 million in the first year and gradually increase each year of the deal.  A player with 7-9 years of experience would start at $25.88 million and the veterans with 10+ years of experience (the LeBron James, Kevin Durant and even Mike Conley types) would begin at $30 million.


Those are Major League Baseball-like salaries in a league with a salary cap.  One maxed out player will take up more than a third of a team’s salary cap.  What about those super teams with two or three superstars?  How are they going to fill out the rest of their roster?  One would think that if those max level players are going to get paid more, the second or third tier players contracts might rise as well, right?  It’s going to be interesting trying to fill out NBA rosters while the players and front offices get used to the growing salary cap that is rumored to grow to $108 million for the 2017-2018 season.


For the Mavericks, are any of these players they’re rumored to be pursuing worthy of the “max” level contracts they’re seeking?  


A “max” contract for Conley, who will be 29 when the season tips off, will pay him  close to $35 million in the final couple seasons.  That will be close to his age at that point.  


Hassan Whiteside has had an outstanding season and a half for the Heat, but is that enough to warrant a $100 million dollar contract from the Mavs?


Looking closely at the Mavs rumored “ideal situation” of landing both Whiteside and Conley, those two getting the deals they’re looking for would take up $52 million of the team’s cap next season.  Add in the contracts of the players under contract for Dallas next season (Wes Matthews, J.J. Barea, Devin Harris, Justin Anderson, Salah Mejri) and you’re up to about $80 million already.  That leaves $12 million to resign Dirk Nowitzki and fill out the rest of the roster with likely minimum-level contracts.  Is that reality as sexy as the idea of landing both of these players?


Last summer, Dallas handed out a “max” contract to Wesley Matthews and it took all but a month for those who followed the Mavs to have second thoughts about it.  


It’s incredibly easy to say you’re willing to give Player A or Player B a “max” contract in order to get them, but is there any player out there this offseason besides Kevin Durant worth being paid the most money he could possibly be paid?


There are probably only a handful of players worthy of these enormous contracts, but the Mavs and the rest of league are going to have to fork it up in order to reel in the big fish this summer.

Editor-in-Chief for Dallas Fanatic| Born and raised in Dallas, I received my Bachelor's Degree from the University of North Texas in 2014 after majoring in Radio/TV/Film. I'm a lover of all sports and support every DFW team. For random sports and other thoughts, find me on Twitter: @DylanDuell

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