SAN ANTONIO — For the third straight summer, the Dallas Mavericks are positioned to be major shoppers in free agency.
How much do they have to spend? The simple answer is approximately $30.5 million, with the salary cap projected to rise to $63.2 million.
A more complicated answer would require a commitment from Dirk Nowitzki on the terms of his next contract. There’s no question that he’ll re-sign with Dallas. It’s a matter of how long and how much money for the 12-time All-Star who has vowed to take a significant pay cut when his four-year, $80 million expires July 1.
Here are the salaries the Mavs have on the books for next season:
Monta Ellis – $8,360,000
Jose Calderon – $7,097,191
Brandan Wright – $5,000,000
Samuel Dalembert – $3,867,282
Wayne Ellington – $2,771,340
Shane Larkin – $1,606,080
Jae Crowder – $915,243
Ricky Ledo – $816,482
Gal Mekel – $816,482
Dalembert’s deal includes only $1.8 million in guaranteed salary, but the decision has already been made to keep the center who is a bargain for under $4 million. With cap holds for three open roster spots, the Mavs will enter the offseason with $32.7 million on the books.
Nowitzki has never publicly discussed the potential numbers of his next contract, but it’s probably a good guess that it will end up being a Tim Duncan-like discount. Duncan’s deal is worth $30 million over three years.
That would leave the Mavs approximately $20.5 million in shopping money. There is mutual interest in re-signing valued role players Vince Carter, Devin Harris and Shawn Marion, and one of them could get the cap-room midlevel exception that went to Ellington last summer, which would not impact cap space.
The exact amount of financial flexibility the Mavs have this summer is to be determined, but it will be more than enough to bid aggressively in free agency.