With five days until free agency begins, it’s time to officially start naming names as ideal targets for free agency. This week, The Two Man Game will go through each position and determine who appears to be ideal fits for the Mavs.
Money is always an issue, but the Mavs will have their share of cap space to work with.
Meshing all the pieces is just as important of a part of deciding on the pieces. The number one option at shooting guard might not be an ideal match with the number one option at small forward. These rankings will be solely on my own projections. A quick blurb from Editor-in-Chief Rob Mahoney’s free agency primer on the SI.com’s Point Forward will be mentioned for each player.
Note: It’s clear that Dirk Nowitzki is the man at the power forward position for Dallas. They have options such as Shawn Marion and, if they bring him back, Brandan Wright who can log minutes at the four spot. They will only be looking for a backup. Outside of the first option on here, the Mavs are likely better off just working with Marion and Wright at the spot. If not, these are intriguing names to keep an eye on.
Let’s look at the free agent options at the power forward position.
1. Carl Landry [Player Option]
Mahoney said: Few free-agent big men can create offense when afforded the opportunity, but Landry, 29, ranked as one of the better post options in the league this season. He averaged 0.88 points per post-up possession, according to Synergy Sports, and while that isn’t the kind of efficiency that can sustain an offense, it offers teams help in building or maintaining leads.
At the $4 million clip he is opting out of, it might be hard to believe he’ll break the bank much more than receiving the mid-level exception.
Hopefully the fact that Landry had part of his tooth in Dirk Nowitzki’s elbow is water under the awkward bridge. He is a solid offensive rebounder, something that Dallas truly lacks. His movement without the ball is strong, as well. His weakness as a defender can be masked by the ability to come off the bench. Guys coming off the bench have their weaknesses or they would likely be starting. Landry would definitely bring some solid depth to the Mavs at the four spot. If they needed to rest Nowitzki during the season, for whatever reason, he would do a nice job filling in.
2. Andray Blatche
Mahoney said: Blatche, 26, played nice with the Nets this season, and played nicely to boot. He was an essential contributor for a team that otherwise struggled to find the right frontcourt mix.
Blatche emerged as a nice option off the bench for the Nets. He certainly wasn’t the joke that he was in Washington when he was running with JaVale McGee. Money won’t necessarily be an issue for him as he’s still collecting money from the Washington Wizards after being amnestied. He will still get $7.8 million in 2013-14, and $8.5 million in 2014-15. That’s not a bad gig if you can find it.
He committed himself to fitness over the summer and the results paid off as he averaged 10.1 points and 5.1 rebounds for the Nets. If he’s willing to come to Dallas, he’ll learn from one of the best in Dirk Nowitzki and be in an organization that wants to help him succeed.
3. J.J. Hickson
Mahoney said: It’s worrisome that Portland — a team without a single league-average-or-better bench player based on Player Efficiency Rating — played better overall this season with an underwhelming sub in Hickson’s place.
Hickson certainly found a groove to work within during his time in Portland. He averaged a double-double off the bench in Portland, 12.7 points and 10.4 rebounds in only 29.0 minutes of action a night. He would have to be a bench specialist due to the point you really can’t trust him to do much of anything on defense.
It also doesn’t sound like Portland is beating down Hickson’s door to retain him. That’s also another potential red flag.
4. Jason Maxiell
5. Ivan Johnson
These two players represent players who would likely fill in as third options at the power forward position. I would be surprised if you had to pay anything significant for either one.
The draft, particularly the second round, could provide a cheap option for the Mavs if they want to pursue a third-tier/project power forward.
Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He also attended Ball So Hard University, studying ideologies of Clark Kent. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.