On the afternoon of July 12, the Dallas Mavericks received the news they had been desperately hoping to hear. The Houston Rockets would NOT match the Mavericks aggressive three-year, $46 million dollar offer to small forward Chandler Parsons.
The news was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Houston chose to let Parsons join their division rival as his salary would have severely limited the Rockets options moving forward.
The Rockets had stated that they would match any offer than Chandler Parsons received and Mark Cuban chose to call their bluff with a contract that exceeded the Rockets’ expectations.
The move was not without risk as the Mavericks were forced to watch many of their free agent targets sign with other teams as they awaited the Rockets’ decision. These targets include Vince Carter, Trevor Ariza, Luol Deng and Isaiah Thomas.
Fortunately for the Dallas, the gamble paid off and Dallas has now significantly upgraded their roster heading into the 2014-15 season. The Tyson Chandler and Chandler Parsons acquisitions bolster a Mavericks roster that won 49 games in 2013-14.
The Mavericks may have had to pay a premium for Parsons’ services, but they are delighted to acquire the 25-year-old sharpshooter who has improved in each of his three seasons in the NBA. The signing of Parsons means Dallas will be filling out their roster with veterans that will come at a deep discount.
On the same day the Mavericks secured Parsons services, they signed 34-year-old small forward Richard Jefferson to one-year contract that is expected to be for the veteran minimum. Jefferson may not be the athletic, high-flying player he was when he was averaging 20 points per game for the Nets, but he is still a capable scorer off the bench.
Jefferson averaged 10.1 points per game for the Utah Jazz during the 2013-14 season. Jefferson also shot an impressive .450 percent from the field and .409 percent from the 3-point line. The signing of Jefferson is what you can expect from the Mavericks as they fill out their roster via free agency.
The only ace up the Mavericks sleeve is the $2.7 million dollar cap-room exception. This will present Dallas with the opportunity to acquire one more player making more than the league minimum. It is important Dallas finds the right player with the cap-room exception as this will likely be their last offseason move of any significance.
Despite trading for Chicago Bulls backup center Greg Smith, the Mavericks are still in the market for a capable center and power forward to bolster their frontcourt depth. Former Atlanta Hawks bruiser and power forward Ivan Johnson could find his way onto this team with a strong showing in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
While this remains a need for Dallas, the market is thin at these positions and finding someone worthy of a $2.7 million dollar salary may prove difficult. There are rumors the Bulls will use the amnesty provision on power forward Carlos Boozer but the Mavericks are not in a position to wait.
Given the limited number of options available at power forward and center, the Mavericks should save their cap-room exception for a player who fills a specific need and is worthy of a salary above the league minimum.
Enter Mo Williams
The Mavericks next target should be free agent guard Mo Williams. Williams’ numbers last season closely resemble those of recently departed shooting guard Vince Carter. Williams is six years younger than Carter at 31 and he should come at a cheaper price.
Williams averaged 9.7 points and 4.3 assists per game in 2013-14 for the Portland Trail Blazers. Williams is a versatile guard who can hit the 3-point shot and he would also be able to play point guard in the event that Raymond Felton or Devin Harris misses time.
Williams reportedly has interest in the Mavericks as well and his signing could come quickly now that the Parsons acquisition is complete. Williams has a family living in the Dallas area and the fit is logical for both Williams and the Mavericks. Williams would be a great veteran presence in the locker room and his ability on the court fills a specific need as well.
We should find out quickly what the Mavericks next move is, the free-agent market is drying up and teams are now forced to act quickly to acquire the players they want to round out their team with. Adding Mo Williams to the Mavericks improved roster would be a nice way to end a successful offseason.