(Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images)
As the Mavericks recruiting team (Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson, Rick Carlisle and Dirk Nowitzki) make their way to Los Angeles today to court free agent Dwight Howard, another rumor is stirring in L.A.
It appears that the Los Angeles Clippers are interested in working out a sign and trade where they deal Eric Bledsoe away for a young shooting guard. One of the key targets for Doc Rivers and the Clips seems to be former Maverick O.J. Mayo, who decided against using his player option last month in favor of testing the free agent waters.
According to Chris Broussard, Mayo and Doc Rivers are getting lunch today.
Source: Doc Rivers and OJ Mayo are meeting for lunch today. Clips & Mavs currently talking about a Mayo-for-Bledsoe swap
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 2, 2013
That’d be cool, seeing how the Mavericks desperately need a point guard, but what would that mean on the Howard front? Let’s take a look.
Currently, the Mavericks are looking to offload about $2.7 million from this year’s payroll so they can sign D12 to a max contract (4-years, $88 million). Initially, I thought maybe Shawn Marion would take one for the team and not use his player option for $9.3 million this season, instead renegotiating for a longer contract that paid him less this year.
In short, Marion did the opposite, taking the $9.3 this year. In order for the Mavericks to get down to a place where they can max out Howard, they now have to trade either Shawn Marion, or Vince Carter (set to earn $3.1 million this season).
However, there’s not a lot of interest in Vince Carter, and even if they did manage to ship him off somewhere they wouldn’t be able to execute the sign and trade and max out Howard. That essentially leaves one option: Trade Shawn Marion.
Now, before the 2013 NBA Draft there were some serious rumors that Cleveland was willing to take Shawn Marion’s contract off of Dallas’ hands in order to move up to #13 (from #19) in the first round. If that had actually happened, then this whole problem would have been solved.
Instead, Dallas shifted things around multiple times, acquiring two young, high-potential players in Shane Larking and Ricky Ledo. Meanwhile, Cleveland held on to the 19th pick and got who they wanted in the first place, shooting guard Sergey Karasev, from Russia.
So now, the Mavs have to do some wheeling and dealing. Tim McMahon does a great job of breaking down what Dallas needs to do, dollars wise.
Here are the guaranteed contracts on the Mavs’ books as free agency is about to begin:
Dirk Nowitzki — $22,721,381
Shawn Marion — $9,316,796
Vince Carter — $3,180,000
Jae Crowder — $788,872
Shane Larkin — $1,280,800
The CBA requires teams to have $490,180 cap holds to fill out the roster up to 12 spots. With those five players and seven holds, the Mavs’ total commitments are $40,719,109.
The salary cap is expected to be $58.5 million. That would give Dallas $17,780,891 of cap space. A max contract for Howard would start with a salary of $20,513,178, meaning the Mavs would need to trim another $2,732,287.
Eric Bledsoe is set to earn $2.6 million this season so if Dallas wanted to go after both of them they’d have to shed a total of about $5.4 million. So, to beat a dead horse, if Dallas wants to make that happen, they need to trade Shawn Marion.
Frankly, I don’t see both deals happening, but wouldn’t it be awesome?