When Pau Gasol and the rest of the NBA's free agents hit the market on July 1, you can expect the Dallas Mavericks to be hot in pursuit of the Lakers' longtime big man who will be an unrestricted free agent.
With his contract expected to drop sharply from the $19 million per year level of past years, the Mavs want to bring in Gasol to bolster their starting lineup at center, ESPN's Tim MacMahon and Marc Stein report.
NBA Free Agency
NBA Free Agency
And so that leaves Dallas interested in Gasol, who will be 34 years old when the next season begins, as perhaps Dallas' best option. This of course opens up questions for the Mavericks defensively, and makes one think about the chances of injury with Gasol's age. It's hard to say what contract Gasol will get, but it will undoubtedly fall significantly from last year's $19.3 million. He's still talented as a passer, but his mobility and scoring averages have fallen the past couple seasons, raising questions about his overall impact.
MacMahon and Stein also report that the Mavs might not have cap space to sign Gasol if they succeed in bringing in Carmelo Anthony, though it's unlikely Gasol and his contract will be on their minds much if they do get Anthony. Their sources also say the team has interest in small forward Luol Deng, which could help make up some of the defensive problems.
The Mavs' free agency cap space will be a slightly more than $30 million, which will take a huge cut when Dirk Nowitzki gets his new deal. However, they should still have space to add a cog to their starting five.