Tyson Chandler isn’t the only Knick the Mavericks are eyeing.
After striking out on Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, Dallas hasn’t lost its hunger to pursue star free agents.
The Mavericks want Carmelo Anthony, and unlike two of Melo’s most-commonly mentioned suitors – the Bulls and Rockets – Dallas will actually have enough cap room to sign him outright to a max contract. But does Melo share share that the Mavericks’ enthusiasm?
When it comes to Melo, meanwhile, what you hear is that the Mavs are quietly optimistic they will be on that short list of teams granted a face-to-face visit with the New York Knicks’ scoring machine, just as they were with Dwight Howard last summer. The sense in Big D is that Melo will give them a legit look.
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Based on the latest salary-cap projections, the Mavericks could give Melo a max contract and then have $8,476,826 left to re-sign their own players – notably Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and Vince Carter.
Dallas could increase that leftover cap room to $10,444,679 by declining Jae Crowder’s team option (something they’d have to do before free agency begins) and waiving Samuel Dalembert and his partially guaranteed contract (something they said they wouldn’t do).
We’re definitely verging on the low end of what Nowitzki will likely get, but if the Mavericks get Melo, maybe Nowitzki would be willing to take less.
In possibly too many ways – especially defensively, but on both ends – Nowitzki and Melo overlap in skills, and that could limit Dallas’ upside. The Mavericks aren’t going to win a title next season without Melo, though, and he’d definitely increase their potential to win big. Rick Carlisle, based on his work with Monta Ellis this season, definitely deserves a chance to integrate the potentially mismatched talents into a coherent system before anyone writes off a Melo-Dirk pairing.
Letting Marion and/or Carter walk wouldn’t be ideal, but if Dallas landed Melo, it would be much more tolerable. And maybe the Mavericks could convince one or both to stay for a minimum contract ($1,448,490) or the room mid-level exception ($2,732,000).
I don’t know how much better the Mavericks would be with Melo, but they’d definitely be much more intriguing.