Though the Mavs would theoretically be best served picking out their main off-season course before pinning down the plate presentation, NBA teams are rarely given such an opportunity. Teams grasp at every attractive free agent within their general vicinity, mostly because they have to; with other franchises presenting all kind of offers from every imaginable angle, free agents can rarely be seen as secure pursuits. Some players obviously lean heavily one way or another, but for us to assume an outcome does disregard both the power and influence of their agency.
So teams pitch, and they pitch and they pitch and they pitch. They evaluate, negotiate, offer, and counter-offer, until everyone is rightfully tired of the entire process. It’s continuous and tiresome, yet it’s the avenue teams are given to acquire new talent and that players are given to make bank.
So they play along. Free agency is difficult enough on its own merits to worry about temporal order. Even if the comprehensive vision isn’t yet apparent to the public eye, GMs are working the phones as part of something bigger than an individual signing. Even if that GM is David Kahn, and the “something bigger” is an elaborate practical joke on the Timberwolf faithful.
With all of this in mind, consider the following: According to Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas, the Mavs have expressed interest in signing free agent wing Rasual Butler. It’s still not the big splash Mavs fans are waiting for, but it’s the type of peripheral signing that can make Dallas a better team overall. Even though Butler would likely be the backup to the backup (he’d be safely behind Caron Butler, Shawn Marion, Jason Terry, and Rodrigue Beaubois on the depth chart), Rasual is a usable player and an asset to have deep among the reserves.
Of course, how much Dallas would be willing to spend to sign Rasual would obviously be of some import. Picking up Butler could cost the Mavs most of their mid-level exception, and while that’s not an evil in itself, it could prevent Dallas from adding another real center. And as quaint of player Rasual may be, he’s not quite worth the chance of the Mavs walking into the regular season with Brendan Haywood as the only proven center under contract.
That said, Butler’s fine. A bit bland, but fine. He’s a decent outside shooter, a perfectly competent wing defender, and a nice complement. He just doesn’t quite hit the spot.