Dallas Mavericks Free Agency Update: Five Things You Need to Know
Dirk Is Back; Mavericks Have Five Starters
Dirk Nowitzki will be a Dallas Maverick for 2 more years. Andrew Bogut, one of the premier “I hate him unless he’s on my team and then I love him” players in all the Association will be coming in a trade very similar to the acquisition of Zaza Pachulia at the end of free agency last year. Harrison Barnes, much maligned after a rough NBA Finals, will be joining as well. Deron Williams and Dwight Powell have been re-signed. If you’re looking for what this all means, here are the 5 key things you ought to know:
1. At the end of this two-year contract, Dirk will tie Kobe Bryant with 20 seasons played for one team, the most in a career. He is currently tied with Reggie Miller at 18, and just behind John Stockton and Tim Duncan at 19. With recent news from The Vertical that Duncan is leaning towards retiring, Dirk could be close to setting a record unlikely to ever be broken when this two-year, $40 million deal ends.
2. Harrison Barnes is coming in for 4 years, $94.4 million. That’s about a million a year less than Parsons for a significantly better defender who hasn’t had the same injury woes, as Parsons lost the end of each of the last two seasons to knee injuries requiring surgeries. We’ll have a larger breakdown on Barnes when things settle down, but here’s the nugget you need now: Barnes was underutilized in Golden State because they simply didn’t need him to create much. We have no idea about some of his skills, flashed in college at North Carolina, and we know that he is a stout post defender, can play the small ball four, can hang with wings, and can space the floor as a good three-point shooter (don’t let the small sample size of the Finals dissuade you from that notion).
3. Andrew Bogut will set nasty screens, will protect the paint with a few dirty plays, and is great for a few one-liners throughout the season. He’s a slightly improved version of Pachulia in most ways, and a much better passer.
4. The likely starting lineup for Dallas is Deron Williams, Wes Matthews, Harrison Barnes, Dirk Nowitzki, and Andrew Bogut. That’s a solid starting five, especially if Matthews returns to form as is expected in year two of the Achilles recovery. With many of the same bench guards, the potential for huge growth from Anderson, and a passable big man rotation with Salah Mejri and the newly drafted AJ Hammons on board, Rick Carlisle should take this team to the playoffs again.
5. Free agency, as always, is a process. There’s no need to freak out when things don’t go perfectly on day one, and Dallas sure seems to have a knack to recover well when they swing and miss at guys like Mike Conley and Hassan Whiteside. Donnie Nelson, Rick Carlisle, and Mark Cuban have a lot of time in basketball, and a long history of results. The franchise is in good hands.