After winning a championship in 2011, owner Mark Cuban and General Manager Donnie Nelson agreed to part ways with many key parts of their championship run, including Caron Butler, Corey Brewer and Tyson Chandler. They were hoping to clear space for this summer, where they believed they would have the opportunity to sign Brooklyn Nets star Deron Williams and Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard.
However, Howard has since waived his early-termination clause, delaying his free agency until 2013 (unless he extends his deal), and Williams has decided to remain with the Nets.
In response, they are now pursuing second-tier free agents in Nash and Lin.
Nash played for the Mavericks from 1998 to 2004, when he left in free agency to the Phoenix Suns and promptly won back-to-back MVP awards. He remains close to Cuban and Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki, and their great relationship could help in a future deal. Though Nash is on the back end of his career, he could provide a good boost to the team and revive their playoff hopes.
Nash is still chasing his first championship, and returning to Dallas could be one way to win it all.
Lin too was briefly a Maverick, playing on their summer league team in 2010, when he infamously bested No. 1 overall pick John Wall when they were pitted against each other. According to the New York Times, the Houston Rockets have reportedly offered a deal to Lin, and the Mavericks would have to offer more for Lin to consider the option of playing in Dallas.
The Mavericks may offer Lin a "poison pill" contract, giving him the mid-level exception (around $5 million) this and next season then increasing the salary to as much as $15 million in the third and fourth season of the deal. This would make it difficult for the Knicks to match the offer, as it would put them into the luxury tax during the third and fourth seasons, since they already have stars Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler each earning $15 million or more by then.
It is unlikely that Dallas would offer so much for Lin, but Cuban is known to spend to improve the Mavericks.
As reported by the Boston Herald, Jason Terry struck a deal with the Boston Celtics yesterday, and they will give him $15 million over the next three years. Terry provided instant offense and veteran experience to this team during his eight seasons in Dallas.
In addition, ESPN's Ric Bucher had reported that free-agent point guard Jason Kidd would follow Williams to whichever team he chose (the NY Times reports Williams has since chosen to remain with the Nets). Bucher then tweeted Kidd is "Deciding between Mavs and Knicks."
Both Lin and Nash could be quality starting point guards for the Mavericks, but it is unlikely that they sign both.