The Dallas Mavericks, fresh off the franchise's first NBA championship, have a couple of key players hitting free agency, including Tyson Chandler, the team's second most important player in the postseason. Yet Dallas seems relatively likely to watch them all walk away.
What did they do with the Mark Cuban we know and
love have known?
Here's a look at the Mavericks' salary cap levels over the past six seasons.
Dallas actually has softened its high payroll in recent years down to the $80 million range, or about 33 percent over the salary cap.
Heading into free agency, the Mavs have a cap figure of $64 million with the leaguewide team salary cap set at $58 million and the luxury tax line at $70 million. Bringing back any of the team's major free agents will push Dallas up against the tax, and adding a free agent with the mid-level (either version) would then take the Mavs into it.
The Mavs' free agents are:
Dallas surprisingly isn't too involved in the Chandler derby, despite his obvious importance to the club. Chandler has all but said he won't return to Big D. It's a stunner for a Cuban team. Butler is similarly gone, possibly to the rival San Antonio Spurs. Barea has suitors but has kept Dallas on his tongue in free agency. Stojakovic seems like a likely returnee (though a low priority and salary), and who doesn't love Brian "Dad" Cardinal?
The big rumors for the Mavericks revolve around the same guys they do for every other big mover and shaker: Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. There's an interesting twist, as CBS Sports' Ken Berger has reported that Dallas is looking to preserve 2012 cap space to make a play for Deron Williams. That's a nice little risk given that it comes with waving goodbye to Chandler, no?
For more on Dallas, visit SB Nation's Mavs Moneyball.