I’m tempted to just write this as an appreciation of Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk shouldn’t have been able to do half of the things he did last season and we will look back in total bewilderment when we remember that the Mavericks took not one, but two games from the Oklahoma City Thunder in the playoffs.
But the Mavericks are officially a team treading water in the worst league to do so. Nowitzki cannot carry the franchise anymore and the path for Dallas is very unclear.
They are certainly capable of reloading and again making the playoffs next season. There is virtue in that strategy and the Mavericks, who could open up more than $62 million in cap space, have the resources to pursue it.
Further, given their lack of tradeable assets, it may be their only strategy. We will likely finally find out if Chandler Parsons is indeed a strong recruiter.
The Mavericks will chase any player who will listen. Mike Conley makes a ton of sense for them. So does Al Horford. It’s easy to see them throwing a max offer at Harrison Barnes. Hell, Dwight Howard is a legitimately intriguing name for them.
They will have to handle the situation with Nowitzki delicately. In a surprising move, Dirk will reportedly opt out of his contract. There is of course the chance that its an attempt to give the Mavericks more flexibility, but it still requires the Mavericks to be careful. They cannot lose Nowitzki or take it for granted that he will return.
There is a similar situation with Chandler Parsons. Parsons will almost assuredly opt out of his contract to take advantage of this unprecedented cap boom. The Mavericks will want him back, but Parsons does come with question marks. It’s hard for them to play him and Dirk at the same time and Parsons also has missed a significant amount of time with injuries.
If the Mavericks do find a way to reload the roster they cannot be counted out. Rick Carlisle is a genius coach who always finds a way to extract the most out of his teams. Look for Dallas to be a playoff team again next season.