Ahhhh! It’s the most wonderful time of year. The NBA offseason is officially in full swing, and free agency kicks off tonight at midnight, with teams and players being able to verbally agree to deals.
Which begs the question…Whose doorstep will the Mavs be on at midnight? Well, this roster has one very well documented hole in it….The abscence of a presence in the middle. It’s been that way for basically the entirety of Dirk’s career aside from two years of Tyson Chandler.
A depressed market for spenders should give them the inside track to land at the very least a solid man in the middle.
The following options are ranked in descending order from best case scenario to worst.
1. Clint Capela, Houston Rockets
First and foremost, Clint Capela is a restricted free agent. Meaning, Houston is able to match any offer sheet he agrees to within three days of him signing, to retain his services. That clearly makes this chase a bit murky and highly unlikely.
But it wouldn’t be the first time Houston has let an exciting young piece get away due to the unintended consequences of restricted free agency. Remember that Chandler Parsons guy? Yeah, he was in an oddly similar situation to what Capela is, back in the summer of 2014.
With Houston expected to be chasing big fish, the Mavs have a chance to strike as they did in 2014. If they somehow ink Capela very early in free agency to as painful a contract as possible, they might force Houston’s hand. Do they: A) Match Capela and remove themselves from the James/George sweepstakes, or B) Wait on LeBron or Paul George to make their choice, and potentially lose out on Capela in the process? Financially, those seem like the only feasible options.
And given how small the chances are Lebron or PG actually chooses them, it makes more sense to just keep Clint Capela in the fold and run back the team who was one win away from the finals a year ago.
If Dallas somehow pulled off this pipe dream though? Their young core would be set and arguably one of the most exciting in the league. Capela’s defensive impact and energy on offense paired with the playmaking and slashing of Luka Doncic and Dennis Smith Jr. would make for some fun basketball.
2. DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers
According to both Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc Stein, the marriage of DeAndre Jordan and the Dallas Mavericks seems ready to commence.
And it is time Mavs fans. Yes, the summer of 2015 hurt. And DeAndre Jordan was to blame for it. But we must let bygones be bygones, for the betterment of the team and our young studs.
His presence is exactly what these two young bucks need. DJ is truly one of the elite roll men in the entire NBA, in fact he’s probably the best. That vertical spacing is so critical for an offense, in particular talented young playmakers such as DSJ and Luka.
Defensively, he appeared to have a lesser impact than in years past. Could it be a sign of decline? Sure. But you don’t often see 29-year olds start to suffer decline, especially ones in his physical condition. It is probably more attributable to his situation, as that often effects effort level and engagement. Even then, you’re at worst getting a decent defender who can affect shots at the rim.
But at his best? You are getting a potential DPOY candidate, one of the most explosive finishers in the league, and argueably the best rebounder in the game. Everything he brings, the Mavericks need desperately.
It’s time to let it go guys.
3. Dwayne Dedmon, Atlanta Hawks
This name might surprise some folks. He’s a little known player, being hidden on a really bad team. And he isn’t even a free agent.
So why is he here? Well, he seems attainable based on his friendly expiring deal and the fact that he doesn’t fit into the Hawks rebuilding timeline. Now the Hawks might not want to move him, this is just purely speculation on my part.
And what does Dedmon bring to the floor? He’s actually done an impressive job acclimating himself to today’s NBA. He entered the league primarily as an energy player with a knack for rebounding.
Now he’s a versatile defender, capable of protecting the rim, at least at a decent level. He still can rebound effectively, but most importantly he has pushed his shooting range out to the three point line. Shooting 35% is about league average and that’s where Dedmon hangs out at.
Dwayne Dedmon isn’t a dynamic, game changing piece. What he is, is a fanatastic utility big man who would do the Mavs a lot of good by adding his skill set to their young roster.
4. Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz
Much like Dwayne Dedmon, Derrick Favors isn’t going to have jaws dropping with “wow” plays. He’s probably the better player of the two of them, but falls on our list due to him not exactly meeting the needs of the Mavs current roster.
As we discussed earlier in our list, the Mavericks need a presence in the middle. A shot blocker, rim protector, and excellent rim runner/lob threat.
While Favors isn’t bad at those things persay, they’re just not what you would call his strengths.
However, he does excel as a skilled, interior scorer. Favors was a top 5 pick in the 2010 Draft for that reason. While the league has moved away from that style of play, he’s adapted by expanding his range a touch and learning to play with a high basketball IQ in the context of a team offense.
He’s also played out of position and in a smaller role for a large part of his career. Playing the 4 in Utah next to Gobert has helped him defensively, but you could argue it’s done the opposite on the other end.
And this has really been reflected in his statistical production. His output always takes an uptick when he is slotted at the 5 and isn’t playing second fiddle to anyone in the front court. Something I think that would really show if he opted to join the Mavericks.
5. DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans Pelicans
Let me start with this…
DeMarcus Cousins is the most talented player on this list. At the peak of his power, he has generational type talent as a big man who can do literally everything.
But, there is just too much baggage.
First, he is going to command a large salary; players of his caliber almost always do.
Second, does he really fit your rebuilding timeline? There have been other names mentioned on this list who this also applies to, but they have schematical and theoretical fits into this roster. Does Boogie? He’s almost got to be featured if he’s on your team, thus taking the ball out of DSJ and Luka’s hands which is not something you want to do at this stage of their development.
Third and most importantly, he is coming off an Achilles tear. This is largely considered the most devastating injury in sports, and there seems to be a real precedence for guys being unable to really be themselves again after these kinds of injuries. Current Mav Wes Mathews is a prime example.
If all four of the names mentioned before Boogie aren’t on the table, and it’s a reasonable contract? Then I can get on board with him. But this is likely a huge risk, one that may not be worth taking.
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