With the end of the NBA season coming up in the next few days or so, the offseason is about to commence. Typically, there are various marquee talents available. Carmelo Anthony appears to be one of the top players that teams are looking at this offseason, and while there have been other rumored squads for him to join, it is the Dallas Mavericks who might be the best fit for him to consider.
Many teams have been mentioned in the rumor mill as it relates to Anthony, between his current team the New York Knicks as well as the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and recently, the Miami Heat. The latter has been the latest focus in the media, with the Heat being in the NBA Finals after all. Additionally, fans have let their displeasure felt upon the rumors with many believing that the team would be stacked beyond compare.
However, the real problem with Anthony going to the Miami Heat is that he may just not fit in. Anthony is small forward. As such, he plays the exact same position as LeBron James. Yes, both players are friends and it is not a shock that they want to play with each other, but it may be difficult for them to play side by side at the same position. First and foremost, it would most likely mean that Anthony would have to be move up to power forward and Chris Bosh would have to stay at center. Anthony in the past has played power forward. However, when he has, it has been quite evident that he is out of his comfort zone. Worse yet is the fact that the Heat already have a rebounding problem, particularly with Bosh. If Bosh stays at center, it would hurt their rebounding and size even further.
The Dallas Mavericks, on the other hand, are a different story. This season was a fairly inconsistent one for Dallas; however, they did make a strong showing in the playoffs as a team who, arguably, gave the San Antonio Spurs their biggest struggle of the playoffs. Because of this, it would not be a surprise if they were able to lure in free agents that see them as having championship potential. Significant work has to be done though. Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and Vince Carter are all free agents, and Dallas can cut ties with Jae Crowder’s player option, while waiving Samuel Dalembert’s partial guaranteed contract.
Nowitzki has stated in the media that he will be returning next season to the Mavericks. The reason for opting out of his contract is simple: He wants to give the Mavericks more options in free agency by taking less money. Considering Dallas will have an open spot at small forward with Marion and Carter currently as free agents, not to mention upcoming financial flexibility, Dallas seems to be positioning itself perfectly to land Anthony. If they do, it could create a deadly trio of Nowitzki, Anthony and Monta Ellis.
No, Nowitzki is not in his prime, but his 19.1 ppg and 8 rpg are still solid numbers to match with Ellis’ 20.4 ppg. Unfortunately for Dallas this past season, what hurt them the most was their lack of a third consistent scoring option. Sure, there was the occasional game where Marion, Carter, Blair or even Devin Harris would put up solid numbers. However, those games were very far and few between. Oftentimes, the Dallas box score would show two guys, Nowitzki and Ellis, doing everything. Anthony, by coming to the Mavericks, would be that third guy. Not only that, but he would become, arguably, their top scorer without having to be the team leader, a position in which Anthony has been less than stellar at.
On top of his scoring abilities, Anthony will be able to take the rebounding load off of Nowitzki, who has seen his rebounding statistics drop in recent years, while Anthony’s has increased. Ultimately, by joining the Mavericks he will be a part of a team with a winning culture. He can be assured that by being on a team owned by Mark Cuban that not only will he be treated well, but he will have that comfort of working for an owner who has no qualms in spending money to load up the roster.
If Anthony signs with Dallas, it will send a shockwave across the NBA free agency. Carter, who is trying to chase his first championship, possibly would come back to the team for less money. Marion would too, though Dallas would be foolish to bring him in, for as great of a player as he was, the 2013-2014 season showed that Marion’s production is deteriorating. Meanwhile, Carter still has shown some worth to the team. More importantly though, with the signing of Anthony, Dallas would become a popular destination for unsigned free agents.
There is not much known in terms of Anthony’s plan for his free agency. One thing is for sure though. The former scoring leader will be opting out of his Knicks contract. Whether he is doing this to go to a different team with championship potential or to cash in on his last big max deal contract is unknown. However, if Carmelo Anthony should consider the Dallas Mavericks, he will be given a hefty contract and the likelihood of chasing championship gold on a team where he will fit in like a glove.
Commentary by Simon Mounsey