Dirk Nowitzki dictates Dallas Mavericks future

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dirk nowitzki free agent

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. The team 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 Dirk will shape the Mavs’ off-season plan and attempt to move up among the top teams in the NBA.

Dallas Mavericks (49-33 last year)

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

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 and 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 off-season.

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

Expect Dallas to make another off-season 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. Their cap space after signing Nowitzki will obviously factor into which type of player the Mavs are able to land but this needs to get done.

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

OTHER NBA OFF-SEASON TEAM NEEDS PAGES:

ATLANTA HAWKS

BOSTON CELTICS

CHARLOTTE HORNETS

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

DENVER NUGGETS

DETROIT PISTONS

LOS ANGELES LAKERS

MILWAUKEE BUCKS

MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES

NEW ORLEANS PELICANS

NEW YORK KNICKS

ORLANDO MAGIC

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

PHOENIX SUNS

SACRAMENTO KINGS

UTAH JAZZ

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Milwaukee to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag), and finished with the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft (nearly a three-peat.) You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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