At this point in the offseason, we have a fairly decent idea of which teams will be the big players for the marquee free agents. Only a certain amount of teams have actual cap space to play with, and a few can be safely ruled out based on their roster, market size and other factors.
That being said, you never know when a surprise candidate could sneak in and steal an elite player. Last offseason, it was the Charlotte Bobcats that made waves by signing Al Jefferson when no one really considered that a likely destination.
Chances are, we'll see at least one "dark-horse" team snatch up a key free agent this year as well. While it's important to remember the odds are firmly against most of the teams you'll see listed here, the destinations may not be as improbable as you might think.
For the sake of this exercise, we've taken the top unrestricted free agents.
Why not include restricted free agents? It's just easier to believe a dark-horse candidate can land a star player when his original team doesn't have the option to match.
But the Mavs and Nowitzki, sources said, ultimately decided to wait until after July 1 to maintain maximum flexibility for free-agent pursuits.
Nowitzki, 36, has said countless times this season that he's prepared to take a significant pay cut from last season's $22.7 million in hopes of giving ample salary-cap space for the Mavericks to upgrade the roster around him.
"Cubes (Mavs owner Mark Cuban) knows I don't want to go anywhere and he doesn't want me to go anywhere," Nowitzki recently told ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. "We're guessing that will be over pretty quick and then we can focus on making this franchise even better.
Nowitzki probably won't be the only player to stay put with his original team, but let's look at the dark-horse contenders for the best unrestricted free agents of the 2014 NBA offseason.