2012-2013 Dallas Mavericks: Who Will Play with Dirk Nowitzki Next Season?

Brandon TrippContributor IIIApril 8, 2012

2012-2013 Dallas Mavericks: Who Will Play with Dirk Nowitzki Next Season?

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    Perusing around ESPN, I came across a very interesting article on the Western Conference team-by-team free-agent needs this year. It sounds early, but considering that Mark Cuban has already started looking ahead to next season it is only appropriate that Dallas Mavericks fans have the same opportunity.

    So taking those perceived needs and making some educated guesses, here is what Dallas' roster might look like next season.

Clearing Cap Space

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    The Mavericks will have just $3.4 million in cap space to start the off-season, but they are expected to make a number of moves to help that number grow.

    To start, Dallas will most likely amnesty Shawn Marion or Brendan Haywood under the new CBA conditions that allow each team to waive a player without a cap hit if the contract was signed prior to last season. That should clear either $8.6 or $8.3 million depending on who is amnestied.

    The next move would be to buyout the last year of Lamar Odom’s contract for $2 million instead of keeping him and taking the $9 million dollar cap hit. Vince Carter would also be bought out on the final two years of his mid-level exception deal, which would save another $2 million.

    That leaves Dallas with about $21 million in cap space. With these moves and the other players already coming off the payroll, that leaves the Mavericks with a roster of Nowitzki, Marion/Haywood, Rodrigue Beaubois (Roddy-B), Dominique Jones, Kelenna Azubuike, and Brandan Wright. Azubuike and Wright both have team options for the final year of their contracts and Wright's is almost certain to be picked up considering the year he is having.

Point Guard

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    This is the position with the least amount of uncertainty, as far as a plan, for Dallas in free agency. The longer the season progresses the more it looks like Deron Williams will come to Dallas as a free-agent for about 80 million dollars over four years, the maximum he can get, unless New Jersey works out a sign-and-trade with Dallas.

    As far as a backup is concerned, Dallas has a lot of options without going back out to free-agents. Delonte West has already expressed a desire to stay with Dallas past this season and could be secured for a relatively cheap amount.

    The Mavericks also own the rights to two overseas players, at least one of whom may be ready to come over. Petteri Koponen was acquired in the Rudy Fernandez trade with Portland on draft night 2011. Koponen has played well in the Italian league during the playoffs and will definitely get a look in the Summer League.

    Projected Players at Position:

    Deron Williams, Delonte West, Petteri Koponen

Shooting Guard

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    Here Dallas seems set at the starter job with Roddy-B already on the roster and if Dominique Jones can improve his jump shot he could find the seat right behind him.

    But there are some intriguing prospects for the Mavericks here. Austin Rivers is leaving Duke and currently sits at about the spot Dallas would be picking, providing they draft before the 20th pick. Rivers is an excellent shooter who will need some seasoning, but might be able to come in and contribute off the bench.

    In free-agency Dallas could and should try to bring back Jason Terry if he will take a mid-level exception deal, but the more he talks about it the more it sounds like he is looking for more. If not, look for a veteran to come on a minimal or mid-level exception deal.

    Projected Players at Position:

    Rodrigue Beaubois, Dominique Jones, Jason Terry

Small Forward

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    This is up in the air depending on which player Dallas decides to amnesty. Shawn Marion has played incredibly well for his age, but still has a big number left on his contract for the next few years. Cuban might try and trade Marion, but with the money left on his deal it is not likely to yield a lot of quality in return.

    Dallas made a sneaky move picking up Kelenna Azubuike just before the playoff roster deadline. Azubuike has been playing well in the D-League trying to work his way back from knee surgery averaging just over seven points in 14 minutes a night.

    If Marion is released or traded, look for a veteran like Matt Barnes, Gerald Green, or Steve Novak to garner some attention from Dallas.

    Projected Players at Position:

    Shawn Marion, Kelenna Azubuike

Power Forward

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    This is pretty much self explanatory. Nowitzki is going to retire as a Maverick and that won't be before next season. Brendan Wright will most likely return as his backup since his team option is for the minimum

    Dallas may look at bringing in a third forward on the cheap. Guys like Boris Diaw, Louis Amundson, or Ronny Turiaf would fit the bill.

    Of course don't ever count out Brian Cardinal.

    Projected Players at Position:

    Dirk Nowitzki, Brandan Wright, Boris Diaw

Center

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    This is the most uncertain position for Dallas, which, at the end of this year, if they release Haywood, will have exactly zero on their roster. Since Haywood seems the more expendable between he and Marion, we will play this out.

    JaVale McGee is a player that I love. He hasn't lived up to his potential yet and he has the skill set Dallas looks for in a big man. He would be a much cheaper option than Brook Lopez or Dwight Howard in 2013. The problem is that Denver just traded for him and he is a restricted free-agent, which means Denver will likely match any offer Dallas would be willing to make.

    Mehmet Okur or Marcus Camby could be legitimate options for a relatively cheap contract and would make good one year stop-gaps until Dallas can make a run at Howard in 2013.

    Ian Mahinmi will likely comeback in a backup role for a mid-range deal, but not the full mid-level exception. Maybe Hasheem Thabeet is worth a look if Mahinmi bolts for a better deal or more playing time.

    Projected Players at Position:

    Marcus Camby, Ian Mahinmi

The Big Picture

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    If everything shakes out like this, then Dallas would actually be out of the luxury tax, providing Cuban doesn't go overspend on some of these players. The Mavericks would have a roster with solid starting firepower and some nice punch off the bench.

     

    Here is an overview of the roster:

    PG  Deron Williams           Delonte West           Petteri Koponen

    SG  Rodrigue Beaubois     Jason Terry              Dominique Jones

    SF   Shawn Marion            Kelenna Azubuike

    PF   Dirk Nowitzki              Brandan Wright        Boris Diaw

        Marcus Camby           Ian Mahinmi