More than 125 NBA players will soon become free agents, including a few of your Mavs. Today we’re going to look at the Mavs who’ll become free agents, and later we’ll talk about other free agents worth considering. For now, there are two big Mav names and one less known quantity hitting the open market.
Dirk Nowitzki (PF)
Don’t even read any article suggesting that Dirk will chase a ring in Boston, Golden State, or anywhere else. Dirk is going to retire a Mav, guaranteed. Donnie Nelson is working on an updated contract that splits Dirk’s money into multiple years so the team can pursue a few young and talent free agents that have a chance to develop into something special.
We have at least one more year of Dirk, though I wouldn’t bet against him extending his career another two years as he sees this new Dallas team developing quality young talent.
Nerlens Noel (C)
Nerlens is a restricted free agent, meaning Dallas has the right to match any offer made to Nerlens, which is really the reason for the trade to begin with. Donnie knew he was getting a player on the final year of his contract. So in one regard, you could say that Nerlens was a rental. But Donnie also knew he’d get the right to outbid any competitor, which means Dallas can wait awhile to hear the best offer made to Nerlens, and then match it. That strategy could really benefit the team salary cap because a third party offer might not reach max, and Dallas might get away with a less-than-max matching offer if they are patient.
But make no mistake. Donnie and Rick see Nerlens Noel as the center of the future. With Dennis Smith Jr. at the helm, I think we can expect some exciting play between these two reminiscent of Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler.
DeAndre Liggins (G)
In case you’re not familiar with DeAndre Liggins, here’s a quick insight. Liggins spent three years on the Kentucky Wildcats. He was considered a four-star recruit out of high school and the #28 player in the nation, but that didn’t translate into much collegiate success at Kentucky.
Liggins spent the first two years averaging 15 minutes per game, 4 points, and 2.4 rebounds. His junior year, Liggins averaged 31 minutes, 8 points, and 4 rebounds.
He was drafted by the Orlando Magic as the 53rd pick in 2011. He made a few appearances in the NBA, but mostly played for D League teams.
Liggins was a Cavalier for a brief stint in 2017, and with three games left in the season, was waived by former Cavaliers GM David Griffin.
I thought I played well enough to be on the playoff roster. I thought I had proven that I could guard the Steph Currys, Kyle Lowrys of the world.
Two days later, Dallas picked him up and he finished the season a Maverick. Cut just a few games shy of the playoffs, Liggins missed an amazing chance to play in the NBA Finals.
“Liggs gave us a lot,” Lue told reporters after the team announced the move. “I think when JR went down, we inserted him into the starting lineup to change our defense to get Kyrie off the ball and to pick up full court, be aggressive defensively—he was really good for us. Hopefully he gets a chance to go somewhere else and get an opportunity to play.”
Will He Stay or Will He Go?
Both Dirk and Nerlens are locks for the upcoming 2017/18 season. DeAndre, on the other hand, is a total question mark. Known for his defensive prowess, but unable to contribute much to the score, Liggins’ future with the Mavs is in doubt.
Maybe he stays. He is cheap, after all. But does he really contribute? Only if Rick thinks he can improve his game to be a useful piece for the future.