The Player: Dirk Nowitzki
The Team: Dallas Mavericks
The Contract: 3 years/reported $30 million with Nowitzki receiving an early termination option to become a free agent again after year 2.
How does it affect the cap situation? Via Basketball Insiders, this extremely team-friendly deal brings the Mavs to around $44.5 million in guarantees for next year with another $22 million or so in various cap holds for Shawn Marion, Dejuan Blair, Devin Harris and Vince Carter. Depending on how Dallas chooses to address those players, they may end up being able to use the $5.3 million MLE and will have access to the $2 million bi-annual exception as well.
How does it affect the luxury tax? Given that it’s borderline inconceivable for Marion to be signed to a deal close to his almost $14 million cap figure, Dallas is unlikely to sniff the estimated $77 million luxury tax line as even if they did re-sign all 4 of their own free agents, those deals would almost certainly total less than the cap hold they collectively represent.
What’s next? Who knows? Dallas has enough room and roster space to go many different directions, whether they seek to sign players like Luol Deng in free agency, or attempt to use their cap space and exceptions to add pieces cheaply to the puzzle via trades for players on unfavorable contracts. They took a meeting with Carmelo Anthony, but reading the tea leaves, they look to be among Melo’s least likely destinations. With the re-acquisition of Tyson Chandler to partner Dirk on the front line, the areas of obvious need are on the perimeter. It’s difficult to see Dallas going into the year counting on Ray Felton to be their main point guard. Isiaah Thomas and Mario Chalmers are two names who could potentially make sense. However, until the LeBron/Melo logjam breaks at the top of the free agent market, exact targets for Dallas are mostly speculation at this point.