NBA Free Agency 2012: Why Jeremy Lin Should Be the Dallas Mavericks' Main Target

Tobi WritesAnalyst IJuly 3, 2012

Should Dallas add the Coolest Geek ever? (Sorry Mr. Lin, those glasses are pretty nerdy...)
Should Dallas add the Coolest Geek ever? (Sorry Mr. Lin, those glasses are pretty nerdy...)Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

In the event that Deron Williams comes to his senses and realizes what every other NBA star realizes—that having to deal with all the ticket requests and financial requests of living in your home town is a nightmarish pain in the ass—and resigns with the Brooklyn Nets, The Dallas Mavericks should go hard after Jeremy Lin.

Really I think Lin should be our number one target, but I am a minority opinion there.

"Jeremy Lin is a restricted free agent," you say.  Well apparently there is a loophole there and it is the kind of loophole the Mavs' braintrust often sees.

Here is the skinny from Chris Broussard at ESPN,

"...The Knicks can offer Lin a four-year deal worth $24.5 million. But an opposing team can offer Lin a poison pill that could go as high as $40 million over four years. Such a contract would pay Lin $5 million in each of the first two years and then go as high as $15 million in each of the last two years.

Matching such a contract would give the Knicks four players—Lin, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler—making more than $14 million in the 2014-2015 season. Those four players alone would have a combined salary of $72 million, nearly $2 million above the luxury tax.

While it may be doubtful that a club goes as high as $15 million in a season for Lin, even if one offered Lin roughly $10 million in the third and fourth years of a contract, the Knicks would be cautious about matching, according to a source.

Toronto, Dallas and Brooklyn have all expressed interest in Lin, according to sources, though he is a backup plan for each of the clubs."

 Consider the Ramifications of Feeding New York's Roster a Poison Pill

If Dallas were to offer Lin a four-year $40 million deal, New York would have a pretty simple choice. 

They can pass, keeping their front line together and look for a cheaper PG alternative. 

Dallas wins Lin.

The Knicks can sign Lin and then look to move one of their three frontline players—probably former Maverick Tyson Chandler—probably to a team with a big trade exception for a lesser, but competent starting center. 

Dallas has Brendan Haywood and a big trade exemption.  Dallas has some assets.  They would have as good of a shot as anyone.

Dallas could walk away with Chandler.  Dirk, Marion and Chandler won one title already.

Consider the Ramifications of Lin On a Four-Year "Poison Pill" Deal on Dallas

Lin is a dramatically undervalued asset.  The three teams toying with signing him get it.

Teams worry about his injury and worry that he may not be a top five point guard and therefore not worth $15 million a year.

Well to them I say you would not be offering him $60 million over four years.  It would only be $40 million over four years.  That is a bargain for a guy who would arguably be the best player on about a third of the teams in the league.

Even if Lin seems a little slower next year, if the new scheme he plays in doesn't fit him, if he still turns the ball over too much and even if teams are on to him a bit—he will still probably be a top 10 point guard.  The guy can run an offense.  That is the fear about losing Jason Kidd.

What's that worth?  $8 million a year?

Four years at a total of $40 million is not overpaying by much.

And as it is all backloaded, it would not negatively impact the Dirk Nowitski title window.  Dallas would be adding a top 10 PG and still have the money left over to sign two to three big-time free agents to fuel the bench for another title run. 

How does adding Roy Hibbert and Brandon Roy as well sound?  How would adding guys like Marcus Camby and Eric Gordon suit Mav fans? 

There are plenty of interesting names out there that could be had with the savings: Jason Thompson, Spencer Hawes, Joel Prysbilla, Jordan Hill, Mickeal Pietrus, Greg Oden, Patty Mills...

Do the rules allow other restricted free agents, like Nets Center Brooks Lopez, to be offered a poison pill deal?

Plus there is the franchise-value argument. Williams and Howard have toyed with the fates of three franchises for the last year. Williams role in the departure of Jerry Sloan doesn't sit well with a lot of fans.

Do you really want coach-killer Deron Williams to be the face of the franchise when Dirk retires, when you could have sweetheart Jeremy Lin?  Williams is merely tolerable.  Lin is beloved. 

That is a bad financial decision. Lin is hard working, modest and just as endearing as Dirk Nowitski.

His appeal in the Asian community alone would make Dallas merchandise fly out the door.

And I think it is a bad on-the-court decision.  Lin is a winner.  I think the jury is out on Williams. 

Williams may be the better player overall, but Lin is the better leader and the more clutch player.   Which type wins titles?  Ever hear of Robert Horry?

Why Would Lin Choose Dallas?

He knows the staff in Dallas and they know him.

Only Dallas offered him a spot on their team after he graduated.  Lin said of Mavericks GM Donnie Nelson, "Donnie took care of me...He has a different type of vision than most people do."

Dallas offered Lin a contract after that initial summer league; Lin chose to play for his hometown team, the Golden State Warriors, rather than to try to be Jason Kidd's backup.  It didn't work out for him there.

Lin is the perfect fit for the D'Antoni system.  He won't be as affective in any other offensive system.  While New York is moving away from that to please Carmello Anthony,  Dallas could easily move a little more towards that.

The offensive talent in Dallas isn't married to a scheme.  They do not have to dominate the ball.  Dallas has a lot of young athletic guards and Sean Marion played well in the D'antoni system.

Defensively a mix of veteran leaders, Lin and Delonte West at the point could allow the Mavs to work in all three of their young talents (Roddy Beaubois, Dominique Jones and Jared Cunningham) at the 2 spot, easing their transitions to the pros.

Offensively, that looks like a fairly explosive backcourt versus what Dallas is used to.

Lin is a smart guy.  If he were to get to choose first, he knows Dirk + Marion (Dallas' title hopes) > Johnson + Wallace (New Jersey's). 

As it stands today, it looks like Deron Williams will be the PG in New Jersey anyway, limiting Lin's options to New York, Dallas or Toronto.

Dirk is a two-time MVP and one of the top 10 or so end-of-game scorers in the NBA. 

Shawn Marion has elevated his game back to elite levels the last two seasons.  While he has lost a lot of explosion offensively, he may be playing the best defense of his career. 

While no one knows how good of a player Lin will ultimately prove to be, there seems to be little doubt that he is also a top closer.

There is a very real possibility that Lin could come to Dallas (leaving space for other top talents) and win two titles before Dirk is done.

It is time for the Mavs to recover Jeremy Lin.

Afterall, there is no losing play in making him the offer, we owe New York for taking Chandler and we saw Lin first.


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