2014 Dallas Mavericks

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Dallas Mavericks (Last Year: 49-33)

2013-14 Season Summary:
A year after missing the postseason for the first time in 12 years, the Dallas Mavericks squeezed into the Western Conference playoffs finishing just one game ahead of the Phoenix Suns. Dallas primarily used a core of veterans to accomplish that goal but could lose several key role players this summer not to mention their long-time superstar, Dirk Nowitzki. What happens with him will shape the Mavericks’ offseason plan and attempt to move up among the top teams in the NBA.

2014-15 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Samuel Dalembert/*Bernard James

PF: Brandan Wright

SF: Jae Crowder/Ricky Ledo

SG: Monta Ellis/Wayne Ellington

PG: Jose Calderon/Shane Larkin/Gal Mekel

NBA Free Agents:

PF-Dirk Nowitzki (UFA)

SF-Shawn Marion (UFA)

G/F-Vince Carter (UFA)

PG-Devin Harris (UFA)

C-DeJuan Blair (UFA)

*C-Bernard James (RFA)

2014-15 Team Salary: Approximately $31.3 million

NBA Offseason Team Needs:

1. Re-sign Dirk: All indications are that Dirk Nowitzki returns to the Mavericks, and that is a priority for Mark Cuban. Nowitzki is an unrestricted free agent, so it will be interesting to see if he takes a bit of a hometown discount to stay in Dallas while still giving the front office enough cap flexibility to make a major run at a marquee free agent.

If Nowitzki is interested in testing the market, there should be a few teams interested in bringing in his scoring ability, possibly the Lakers. Again, Nowitzki is likely remaining a Maverick, but how big his contract is will dictate what Dallas is able to get done this offseason.

2. Make a Splash: Cuban has swung for the fences the past couple offseasons, but he has whiffed for the most part in trying to land a big-name free agent. While Dallas was able to add some solid pieces like Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon, the team still hasn’t found that star power to pair alongside Dirk Nowitzki in hopes of having the franchise return among the elite in the Western Conference.

Expect the Mavericks to make another offseason run at a marquee player like a Carmelo Anthony or even a second-tier guy like Pau Gasol, Luol Deng, Greg Monroe, or Evan Turner. The franchise’s cap space after signing Nowitzki will obviously factor into which type of player Dallas is able to land, but this needs to get done.

3. Small Forward: Shawn Marion is still a solid veteran role player, but he is also well past his prime with too hefty a price tag. Look for the Mavericks to shift their attention to finding a new small forward. If Dallas is able to land a Melo, Deng, or Turner, it can kill two birds with one stone. Otherwise, the team might have to find a cheap, temporary fill-in via free agency.

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