There's a lot of talk about the Dallas Mavericks' upcoming free agency, but many fans are failing to comprehend the salary cap. In one ear we have some fans suggesting Dallas sign every big name on the board, while others believe that in order for Dallas to make a big splash, it'll have to release everyone not named Dirk Nowitzki.
So to help us accurately judge how much Mark Cuban will splurge this offseason, I've decided to pull out the numbers. Note: exact numbers included are rounded.
This season the Mavs paid out $75.5 million in guaranteed salary and were $17.5 million over the cap.
This summer $25 million in salary will be coming off the books. The total cost of remaining salaries under contract in the summer will be $50 million, leaving the Mavs with about $20 million in expendable cap room before going into the luxury tax threshold of $70 million.
So that's $20 million of available cap space to spend if the team lets Kidd, Terry, Jianlian, West, Mahinmi and Cardinal go.
The biggest fish in the pond, Deron Williams, will be paid about $17 million next season (assuming he picks up his option and is obtained in a sign-and-trade).
If Dallas manages to woo Williams from leaving Brooklyn, Dallas will have $3 million to spend on re-signing Mahinmi, Kidd, Terry and West. Dallas will almost certainly have to let Terry walk in any situation, but signing key-cogs Kidd and Mahinmi for only $3 million will prove to be very hard.
I believe in this situation Dallas will just go over the luxury tax threshold again to keep Mahinmi and Kidd and will sign “filler” contracts to fill out the roster. As great as this situation would still be, there won't be any room here to spend on any fancy "secondary" free agents next to Williams.
That being said, there is one option remaining that could prove to be real handy, and that is the Amnesty Clause. Whether the Mavs should use it on Lamar Odom on Brendan Haywood is definitely something that can be debated, but either option will give Dallas an extra $7.5 to $9 million of wiggle room in the summer.
This newfound cap space could then be used to pursue a solid role player in Chris Kaman or possibly a combination of Marcus Camby and O.J. Mayo.
Overall, Dallas is in great shape to improve its team this off season. Not only can it add Williams, but this article proves it can do so while providing Williams with a superstar running mate without having to diminish all of its depth (a la New York Knicks).
Even if the Mavericks don't catch the big fish in Williams, they'll be able to explore a combination of different options, including Chauncey Billups, D.J. Augustin, Omer Asik, Andrei Kirilenko, Leandro Barbosa, Nick Young, Eric Gordon, Roy Hibbert, Elton Brand, Spencer Hawes and JaVale McGee.
If you were Mark Cuban, what would you do? Would you blow up a perennial contender in order to get younger? If you were Deron Williams, would you sign with Dallas?
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