The Mavericks are “all in” going after top free agents this off-season. The Mavs basically gutted their roster after winning the 2011 title in pursuit of Deron Williams who became a free agent this off-season. The result of those discussions will determine if the Mavericks foray under the cap will reap rewards. If the Mavericks do get Deron Williams they will be getting one of if not the best point guards in the league. There is no question
Deron Williams will be the best player Dirk’s ever been teamed up with and vice versa.
Williams has said he would like to choose between the Nets and Mavericks before heading to Las Vegas this week to train with Team USA. So in the next 48 to 72 hours, (as of press time) the path of the Mavs’ franchise could turn in several directions.
Mavs off-season needs
Number one on the Mavs list of needs is a dynamic point guard who is not about to turn 40. That list starts and ends with Deron Williams. The playoffs shined a bright spotlight on a lack of activity on the interior defense specifically the center position. Dallas must find an athletic big that can protect the rim and rebound, two things with which the 7-foot Dirk Nowitzki needs the most help. Basically, they need to find a center in the mold of Tyson Chandler. Active, defensive, and isn’t scared to scream and direct his teammates. Dallas will still be making a run at Dwight Howard, but his decision not to opt out of the final year of his deal in Orlando scuttled those plans. The Mavericks should also be taking a look at veteran Marcus Camby who has included the Mavericks on his preferred list of teams.
Lamar leaves Dallas behind
Clippers guard Mo Williams officially picked up his option for next season, which cleared the way for a three-team trade that will send the Mavericks’ Lamar Odom to the Clippers and Williams to the Utah Jazz. The trade allows the Mavericks to relieve themselves of Odom’s salary. They originally had until June 29 to either pay $2.4 million to buy out Odom’s $8.2 million salary for next season or have him on the books for 2012-13 but the deadline was extended to June 30 to finalize the trade. Lamar Odom never stepped into the role the Dallas Mavericks had envisioned for him. While the Mavericks didn’t give up that much to get him, Lamar Odom will go down as the worst trade in franchise history.
Mavs draft notes
The Mavericks initially believed they could get a rotation player at No. 17, where they were set to pick in the NBA draft, their highest spot since 2000. However, when Mavs went on the clock, two of their top targets were off the board and their third target, Oregon State guard Jared Cunningham, was likely going later in the first round.
The scenario for a trade emerged and Dallas picked North Carolina center Tyler Zeller and sent him along with small forward Kelenna Azubuike to the Cavs for the No. 24, 33 and 34 picks.
Scouting the picks
G Jared Cunningham (6-5, Oregon State, first round, No. 24) was chosen for his athleticism and tenacious defense. This could be a potential gem in the Mavs draft. His speed and athleticism are something that the Mavericks will need in spades this season. He could become even more crucial if the Mavs strike out on free agent Deron Williams.
C Bernard James (6-10, Florida State, second round, No. 33) is an excellent shot blocker and defender in the paint, two areas the Mavs need immediate help. If Haywood ends up being amnestied for Deron, he will get significant playing time.
F Jae Crowder (6-7, Marquette, second round, No. 34) is a tough, hard-nosed defender with high activity. He’s undersized but makes up for it with his strength and enjoys doing the dirty work.