Carmelo Anthony

It seems that every year the Dallas Mavericks aim to sign the biggest name in free agency and miss out on him. This time, with Carmelo Anthony more than likely opting out of his last season with the New York Knicks to test the market, the Mavs believe they have what it takes to reel in the prize fish.

Anthony has one year worth $23.3 million. It’s not just about money, although having the option of signing for four or five more years for max money, which possibly won’t be available to him if next season isn’t a very good one, is something Anthony is considering. However, the main goal behind this potential move is seeing what options are out there for him.

The Chicago Bulls have been on top of the list since midseason in the Anthony sweepstakes, but the cap situation is tricky, and there’s also the question of whether or not Anthony would fit in a defense-first system that doesn’t really have room for someone who is so ball dominant and takes so many shots without making others around him better.

The Mavericks had a good season, finishing 8th in a loaded West, completing phase 2 in Cuban’s plan of bringing them back into title contention. Now comes phase 3, which is about signing a big-time player, while bringing back Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and Vince Carter for very little money, leaving them enough room to operate.

Dallas can sign Anthony to a max contract and still have $8,476,826 left to re-sign their own players. They could improve their cap situation by giving up on Jae Crowder’s option or waving Samuel Dalembert, who has a partially guaranteed contract only, although they’ve mentioned more than once they aren’t planning of parting ways with the defense-only center.

How much less than the max contract Nowitzki was making this season is he willing to take? And it’s not just about money. Both players are similar in how they play. They both slow down play, hold up the ball and like to occupy similar spots on the floor. Unless Nowitzki has it in him to become a sixth man or stay out of the way, how exactly does bringing in Anthony work out? It’s hard to believe the Mavs will give up on a player that is the greatest in the history of their franchise and is still a 20-point scorer and more on most nights.

Maybe there’s a bigger plan involved that has something to do with trades. Money-wise, the Anthony deal works, but when trying to see it through pure basketball eyes, defensively and in the way of running an offense that will have three players who love the ball in their hands (Monta Ellis is here too, remember), signing Anthony to be part of the next phase just doesn’t seem like a smart move.

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