Mavs Mailbag: FA Scoop On Nash, Deron, Lin

You've got Premium questions? D-Lord's Mavs Mailbag has answers, from inside Mavs HQ and inside the CBA. Can you sign-and-trade for D-Will? What's the value of B-Wright and Ian? What are the realities on Nash and Lin? What do we, and the Mavs, think of Do the Mavs have interest in Tyreke Evans, Courtney Lee and Eric Gordon in terms of price-vs.-value? Premium answers inside:

MFFL in Mesquite writes:

Dear Insider, (1) I've been impressed by Brandon Wright this season, but with all the talk about clearing out cap room by getting rid of players, what do the Mavs intend to do with Wright? (2) Is Deron Williams really the right player for the Mavs to prioritize in free agency?

Dear MFFL: The Mavs love Wright and his athleticism as a big man. If they got rid of him to save money, the empty roster slot would eat up almost as much as his minimum salary contract for 2012, so the only way he won't return would be if some team wows the Mavs with a trade offer that requires his inclusion.

As for D-Will, he's a superstar in his prime - and the only one of those in the free agent class of 2012. As a scoring PG, he also plays a position that would complement Dirk quite well. There's no question the Mavs are doing the right thing to try to bring him home for the rest of his career.

Oh, and by the way: If you are buying Mark Cuban's suggestion that he "doesn't have a Plan A,'' the suggestion that Deron is anything but this team's wished-for bullseye ... you are being sold a bill of goods.

There will be alternatives if it doesn't happen. But Plan A is Deron Williams.

Venus writes:

Dear Insider, (1) I know Steve Nash will be a free agent this summer. Do the Dallas Mavericks have a real chance to land him? (2) If D-Will agrees to come to Dallas as a free agent, is there any chance the Nets would want to work out a sign-and-trade, which might make it easier for the Mavs to keep some of their free agents?

Dear Venus: Nash told the Suns he's open to returning but not at a discount, and he's just gone through a financially draining divorce with this his last chance for a huge NBA payday. The Mavs have a shot if they want to pay him enough. (Don't pay any attention to the idea he'd play for teams like the Knicks or the Heat at a huge discount. He's looking to get paid.)
If the Nets lose D-Will, they have said that they'd rather have cap space than players and salary they don't like. A SNT would require Dallas to send out $12-14M in salary in the trade (to the Nets or someone else) so it would be a long shot to create successfully, but possible if things fell right.

In The Meadowlands writes:

Dear Insider, (1) If the Mavs could create a SNT for D-Will, how would they do it? Would they try to find a 3rd team with assets the Nets would want, trade for those assets, and then flip them to the Nets? (2) Do the Mavs have interest in Tyreke Evans, Courtney Lee, or Eric Gordon in free agency?

Dear M: If the Mavs had a commitment from D-Will and were working on a SNT, I suspect the first question would be to ask the Nets what they wanted from the Dallas roster and determine how much salary (of the needed $12-14M) that would satisfy, and then they'd see what other team would want and be able to take some talent/salary for nothing. If it all adds up to the right number, they'd have a SNT.

I don't think the Mavs will chase Evans, Lee, or Gordon in free agency due to price-vs.-value issues. Their clearcut priority is D-Will.

Onebaddog writes:

Dear Insider: Hypothetically, could a team like the Mavs cut someone this summer, and absorb the entire cap hit this year? Or do they have to spread it over twice the remaining length of the contract plus one year?

Dear OBD: Under the 2005 CBA when a player was waived and owed money over multiple years, the cap hit was prorated over the length of the remaining guaranteed contract. Under the terms of the 2011 CBA it can be stretched over twice the remaining length of the guaranteed contract plus one year, or the team can opt to have it done in the 2005 CBA fashion.

Hotrod writes:

Dear Insider, (1) What is Ian Mahinmi's caphold? And how much can we go over the cap re-signing Mahinmi with Early Bird rights? (2) Regarding Jeremy Lin, what would a big Dallas contract look like if the Mavs could get him, and how would it be paid?

Dear HR: The Mavs have Early Bird rights on Mahinmi this summer, which allows them to pay him as much as the MLE. His cap hold will be $854,389 until he signs with someone.

Lin is a restricted free agent, NY can match all offers, he's going nowhere, so I doubt the Mavs will bother with the hassle of an offer.
In an alternate universe, let's say the Mavs offer him a deal and will pay all they can. In that case it would have weird raises because he's an Arenas free agent. It would begin at the MLE and then jump to the max in year 3 - to be specific, they could pay him (at the most) something like $5M, $5.225M, $14M (or whatever the max is), $14.63M.

For the Mavs to make that exact offer, they would need around $9.72M in cap space. If the Knicks didn't match, the Mavs' cap hit over the 4 years would be the average of the total salary in the contract, while the pay would be whatever is on the contract. The Knicks can match by paying the contract as written, and their cap hits would be whatever they pay.

Jared writes:

Dear Insider, What is Roy Hibbert's cap hold with Indiana? And do they have the cap space to add D-Will this summer?

Dear Jared: Hibbert's hold will be about $6.5M.

In theory the Pacers could carve out enough cap room to add D-Will, but I just don't see it happening. To squeeze him in, they'd have to clear out some current players (which could be done), but his max pay would bust their salary structure as he'd immediately be the highest paid player on the roster (by more than $4M) with some big free agency crossroads looming. In the summer of 2012 they also have Hibbert, Hill, and Barbosa as free agents, with West and Collison in 2013, and Granger and George in 2014.

But more importantly, D-Will is in the unique position of being able to pick where he plays, and I just can't see him picking Indianapolis as the place where he wants to play and live for the rest of his career.

P.S.: It's funny you should ask about Roy Hibbert, because as Premium readers scan this Mailbag, Fish is working on a scoop regarding the Indy center.

Stay tuned!

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