The Mavs haven’t had a ton of success in free agency this summer, but they had previously done a terrific job of taking care of their own. Dirk Nowitzki was signed to a great value deal, keeping Dallas’ window forced open for a bit longer. They re-signed Brendan Haywood, who was the Mavs’ best option for a legitimate center next season. Yet when it came time to secure a free agent on the other end of the pecking order — undrafted point guard Jeremy Lin — Dallas was beaten out; Lin and the Golden State Warriors are close to an agreement on a multi-year, partially guaranteed deal that will allow Jeremy to reprise his role as a local hero in the Bay Area.
It’s unfortunate, particularly because Donnie Nelson was so pivotal in Lin’s emergence. Though Jeremy wasn’t committed to any one team, the point guard seemed like the Mavs’ to lose. Well, they lost him. It’s not earth-shaking, but it does set the Texas Legends back a bit. The Warriors were ultimately able to offer Lin the contract, role, and potential for playing time he was looking for, and regardless of the franchise’s intentions in signing him, it’s a good fit. The organization may be a mess, but running the point for the Dubs will give Lin a chance to really show off for other NBA suitors, and I’d be surprised if he didn’t parlay this one opportunity into a few more.
The Mavs still have J.J. Barea, who is the better player today, and for the future until Lin proves otherwise. Let’s not forget that J.J. was once where Jeremy is right now, but he carved out a rotation spot on one of the top teams in the Western Conference by force of will alone. He was once the plucky underdog, but has elevated himself into an NBA player worthy of being judged by his limitations, which is something that at this moment, Lin can only aspire to. It would be terrific if the Mavs could have signed Lin to be the face of the Legends next season. Although, let’s not forget that while Lin is an interesting prospect, he’s still just a prospect. Barea, faulted though he may be, is already a legitimate player.
The Mavs missed out on an opportunity to pick up a good, young player for very little, but considering what the Mavs have already done to bolster their depth at almost every position this off-season (let’s not forget that while the Mavs let Lin slip through their fingers, Mark Cuban shelled out the cash to draft Dominique Jones, who was even more impressive in Vegas), it’s nothing more than a pity.