A playoff team that has a lot of work to do this offseason is the Dallas Mavericks, with very little meaningful names signed up, and considering how far they’ve been from the title challenge they’re always aiming for, trying to improve that drastically in a short time might be impossible to do.
The Mavericks have only two starting positions locked up for next season: Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons. The rest, including the bench, needs a lot of help. Sure, Devin Harris is decent as a backup guard who can play two positions. Al-Farouq Aminu isn’t a bad defensive stopper to have as well. But that’s it. Everyone else useful from last year is either a free agent or gone.
Tyson Chandler, declining at an alarming rate, is a free agent. Amare Stoudemire is hitting free agency as well. Rajon Rondo? Gone, and the Mavericks don’t want to see him wearing their jersey anymore. Other guys who played a minimal or no role at all last season need to look for a new team. Sure, the Mavericks can re-sign Charlie Villanueva and Richard Jefferson, but what would be the point?
Monta Ellis opting out is almost a certainty. The Mavericks, in order to keep him, will have to pay more than $8.7 million, although Ellis does offer problems, not just solutions. He’s the team’s top scorer, but also a player who doesn’t defend very well, is still something of a ball hog and isn’t always the easiest guy to coach. He also calls for a certain kind of point guard to play next to him. In short? Not simple.
Usually, the Mavericks end up being the losers in free agency battles. For some reason, they just never seem attractive enough to guys looking at the whole package. Maybe something will be different this season, but there is serious concern among Mavericks players and above (Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson) that reaching the first round of the playoffs over the last couple of years is going to be difficult to beat.