The Dallas Mavericks have high hopes for their offseason.
The Mavs, who won 49 games and earned the No. 8 seed in the tough-as-ever Western Conference, entered the free agency period with only $34.5 million in guaranteed money on the books for 2014-15. With the bi-annual and mid-level exceptions (worth $2.08 million and 5.31 million, respectively) on top of loads of cap room, Dallas has money to spend.
After trading Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington, Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert and picks for Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton, the Mavericks have just seven guys on the roster for next year. Of those seven, just Monta Ellis, Chandler, Felton, Brandon Wright and Jae Crowder stand to be mainstays in coach Rick Carlisle's rotation.
Of course, there is one big name missing from there: Dirk Nowitzki. The best player in franchise history enters free agency at age 36 all but guaranteed to put back on the only jersey he's ever worn.
Because of that inevitability, you won't find Dirk on this list. He's too much of a guarantee to come back to the Mavs. The only question with him, after earning more than $200 million over the course of his 16-year career, is about how much of a discount he would be willing to take so that his Mavericks can sign another superstar.
If it misses out on Carmelo Anthony or another big name, Dallas can still contend. This is, after all, the team that gave the San Antonio Spurs its biggest postseason challenge when it pushed the eventual champions to seven games in Round 1 of the Western Conference playoffs.
Now, with plenty of room to find new pieces, the Mavs can start capitalizing on their free-agent wish list.