DALLAS — This is not last year.
Despite heading into a second straight summer armed with financial flexibility, Dallas Mavericks proprietor Mark Cuban shot down any comparisons to last offseason as he and the organization try to make a splash in free agency.
Courting point guard Deron Williams last summer before The Colony native spurned his hometown team and re-signed with the Nets, the Mavericks failed to come away with a big fish while diving feet first into free agency. Still, with a plan in place, Cuban says the Mavs will once again attempt to land a big-name free agent this offseason while trying to rebuild a championship contender for years to come.
“We’re further in, in the transition,” Cuban said Tuesday in an interview with 105.3 FM The Fan. “Last year, and I’ve said this before, there was a lot of internal discussion. ‘Do we go after the one big-name free agent knowing that we’re not going to have a lot of cap room?’ If we would have gotten a big-name free agent that would have taken up our cap room last year, we still would not have had cap room this year. So that’s why we did all the one-year deals, so we would have the option knowing that there were more free agents (this summer). And not just the big names, but other good players that are coming up. And so it’s just different now, because we have cap room this year and we’ll have more cap room next year. And so you start to have some continuity in the players you can sign, whether you get the big name or not, and you have more flexibility going into next year.”
Finishing a 41-41 season and missing the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, the Mavericks will undoubtedly look to upgrade talent while trying to fill seven roster spots after ending last year with a bevy of players that were on expiring deals. But, with 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki and four-time All-Star Shawn Marion both entering the final year of their deals, the Mavs figure to also have flexibility going forward to help assure that Cuban’s two-year proclamation comes to fruition.
And with the “stretch provision” in the new collective bargaining agreement working to his advantage, Cuban will again tackle free agency looking to build continuity for the future.
“Last year, like I just said, we knew that we would be able to have some cap room continuity between this year and next year, because obviously Dirk’s contract comes up after this year, ‘Trix’s contract comes up after this coming year, and so that just changes all the math. And so now we want to start building a team that has continuity,” Cuban explained. “And so, rather than it being one year and we maximize our flexibility like we did this past season, we want to be able to say, ‘OK, look, if we get the big name, we’re not going to have a lot of cap space and it will be a two-year deal — big name this year and then fill around next year and possibly even another big name next year, depending on how things play out.’ And if we don’t get the big name, then we want to begin building that base of a team that can start having that continuity of playing together. And in the event that we need some extra cap room, the way the new CBA enables things is that with the new deals signed post-CBA we have the option to stretch them. So that in the event that we need some cap room for whatever reason, then we can take a contract and release them and stretch the contract out to minimize the cap hit. So we just have a lot more flexibility. Again, there’s no absolutes, there’s no certainties, but I just think we’re in a completely different position than we were last year.”