Building an NBA team through free agency isn’t only about landing the biggest names and stars, and with that in mind the Dallas Mavericks are going to try and sign Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat of the Washington Wizards instead of just waiting around for bigger names to make up their minds.
Free agency doesn’t begin until after the NBA draft. However, there’s a pretty good indication of where each player will go during the week or maybe more that leads up to the beginning of the period. The Mavericks want Carmelo Anthony and might be even dreaming of LeBron James. However, history has shown that big names usually don’t want to sign with the Mavs, and so they have to turn their attention elsewhere, which might not be a bad thing.
The Wizards finally made the playoffs last season, with both Ariza and Gortat playing a big part in that. Ariza, a 10-year veteran in the league, averaged 14.4 points per game in what might have been his best season in the league, which makes sense considering it was a contract year. Gortat bounced back from a rough season in Phoenix to average 13.2 points and 9.5 rebounds and doing quite well in the playoffs as well.
Both players were making $7.7 million next season, and it’s going to take a similar amount to sign them. The more important thing for both of them will be the length of the contract – they’re going to ask for a four year deal, and around $30 million on it. The Mavs have the cap space to give it to both of them and still be able to re-sign Nowitzki and Shawn Marion while getting a bit more offensive versatility from their new players, especially in Gortat who can score inside.
Is this the move that will put the Mavs among the elite in the Western conference? The San Antonio Spurs have shown us for the millionth time that it’s not just about having the big names, beating both the Heat and the Thunder en route to an NBA title. The Mavs have a coach who gives them an advantage over most teams, and can do a good job without having a max-contract player on his team if he has to.
The Mavs need to work fast, which means they’ll need to pick up on the hints given to them from James and Anthony and understand where that whole ordeal is going. If there’s no chance of signing them, moving fast for Ariza and Gortat might be vital for a team that was left with slim pickings last season when it came to free agents after going all in and losing in the chase after Dwight Howard.