The NBA offseason continues as the Dallas Mavericks signed free agent forward Rashard Lewis to a minimum salary contract last night. It seems clear that the decision makers in Dallas have made it a priority to sign capable shooters to spread the floor and open up some space for the core of the offense, which will feature the pick-and-roll. The market value of the three-point shot is at an all-time high for the NBA, and its influence toward winning is clear if you take a look at the shooting tendencies of the last several NBA Champions.
The Mavericks lost much of their long-range firepower from last season, as sharpshooters Jose Calderon and Vince Carter have left town. Dallas has done well to fill that new gap thus far, as recent signings Chandler Parsons, Lewis and Richard Jefferson all favor the three ball — the latter two are essentially three-point specialists at this time in their careers. After signing Lewis, the Mavericks have two roster spots left to fill with their cap room exception of $2.73 million and one more minimum salary contract to make it happen. It has been widely reported that the Mavericks intend to offer the exception to veteran free agent Mo Williams and the minimum spot to one of their bangers currently competing in the Summer League, likely Ivan Johnson or Bernard “Sarge” James. Those seem like solid options, as they would fill some of the team needs. Williams would provide a scoring punch off the bench at either guard position, which is important for a once guard-heavy team that’s now depleted in the way of backcourt personnel, and either of the two big men would provide some much-needed bulk behind starting center Tyson Chandler. But there might be another realistic option.
I don’t think I would be out of line in assuming that fans of the Mavericks probably remember a guy named Jason Terry. Much of the rest of the league may have forgotten him, as he has been nearly invisible since departing from Dallas, but he will always be fondly remembered in the shadow of the American Airlines Center.
Earlier this week, Terry expressed publicly a desire to wear Dallas blue once more in his career. He made it clear that, while he does respect what the Sacramento Kings are trying to do, he does not foresee himself ever fitting as part of it, despite the fact that they own his contract. Since then, it has come out that the Kings have no intention of buying out the remainder of Terry’s contract, so what can they do?
They could waive him and spread the remaining salary out over the cap for the next three years. That would make financial sense for Sacramento, but they wouldn’t get anything in exchange for Terry. To make matters worse for the Kings, it’s not likely that many teams are shopping for a skinny shooting guard who hasn’t made much of a splash in the league in the last three years, but the Mavericks might be an exception to that.
Terry thrived in Dallas. He was a core piece of the team that won the championship in 2011, and all of Dallas still loves him. Maybe a return to the Mavericks could awaken some of that old magic again, but there’s that problem with how to get him out of Sacramento.
When the Mavericks traded for Chandler, point guard Raymond Felton was sent to Dallas as part of the deal. A little more than a month from now he will become tradeable again, and a team like the Kings might do well to add a player with a chip on his shoulder like Felton, who has made it clear that he plans to bounce back from what was a difficult season last year. Could that be an option for the two teams? That situation would grant the Mavericks a great deal of flexibility with their last two roster spots. In fact, it could mean that they would be able to sign a guard to the minimum salary spot on the roster and seek out a higher quality big man using the cap room exception as the bait.
Maybe it’s unlikely and maybe there’s no chance, but crazier things have happened with Mark Cuban at the wheel. Cross your fingers, Mavs fans.
Brian Ogle is a Dallas Mavericks columnist for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @TheOgle.