The Dallas Mavericks have plenty of cap space and decisions to make this summer. Keeping or letting go of Shawn Marion is one of them, as the veteran forward weighs his options, knowing that title contenders like the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers will be looking to sign him via free agency.
Marion, 36, made $9.3 million the deal that just expired. Like Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter, Devin Harris and DeJuan Blair, he hits free agency this offseason, with the Mavs at the moment standing at a $31 million of a cap hit, which means they have plenty to spend on veterans who are willing to lower their salaries significantly, and maybe make a splash in free agency as well, depends on how much they’ll have left.
Marion is an NBA champion so it might not be burning in him to seek out a contender he can play for, but playing on a team you know isn’t going that far might not be as appealing as before. However, the Mavs didn’t seem like title contenders early on in the 2010-2011 NBA season, and who knows how far they would have gotten if they had beaten the Spurs in game 7. Staying in Dallas might not be so bad.
Marion himself has said it’s not going to take a lot keeping him in Dallas, but words are wind. Marion knows this is a business, and so does Mark Cuban. Sentimentality and loyalty are nice, but making money and/or winning NBA titles seems to be a lot more important these days to everyone involved. And here are where outside offers might come in.
Marion can play both forward positions and guard a lot more. He might not be able to put in a super effort for 35-40 minutes like before, but he is still in very good shape, averaging 10.4 points and 6.5 rebounds in 31.7 minutes a night. Any team that signs him can use him as a starter or off the bench, knowing they don’t have to worry about his fatigue, endurance or effort, before even considering what he does bring to the table.
It’s not a matter of who can use him. If Marion doesn’t ask for more than a veteran’s minimum or even settles for the mid-level exception, signing a one or two year deal, they’ll be plenty of buyers. The Miami Heat will want any kind of depth next season, and so will the Chicago Bulls, hoping that finally Derrick Rose has a healthy season not to mention bigger plans that include Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love. The Thunder need help on their rather disappointing bench, and the same goes for the Clippers. Unless the Mavs move quickly and show Marion they have big plans for next season, Marion will have plenty of teams after him.