The end for the Dallas Mavericks came in the first round of the playoffs, in five games to the Oklahoma City Thunder. There’s no shame in that, but when a 37-year-old Dirk Nowitzki remains the No. 1 option it speaks to a roster that’s not equipped to endure an 82-game season.
The Wizards will go into the offseason with as many as nine spots open. Their goals are to get younger, more explosive and identify a few two-way players in the process to improve their 21st scoring defense. Adding players indiscriminately isn't an option because of the cap. The big fish (meaning, big-name free agents) will get signed first. Assuming the Wizards land one, even if it's not named Kevin Durant, they'll construct the roster with the remaining money with as many as eight other spots open. More than likely they'll retain 2-4 of their own free agents which will cut that number of open slots from 5-7.
They'll need a solid backup for Marcin Gortat at center, a true scorer behind Bradley Beal and a backup point guard for John Wall.
These are the Mavericks’ best free agents available, in order of best fit:
Dwight Powell: The rookie, who was the 45th pick in 2014, earned $845,000 and is restricted. The Mavericks should match any offers he gets in the open market but the 6-11 big man was exactly the type of player most teams arelooking to get to bolster their bench with the potential to be a starter one day. Powell would've been the Wizards' pick but when he went off the board they sold their 46th pick to the L.A. Lakers. Getting younger bigs behind Morris is a priority.
Zaza Pachulia: The 32-year-old unrestricted free agent center, and occasional starter, is coming off $5.2 million when he averaged 8.6 points and a career-high 9.4 rebounds. He made 69 starts, his most in a decade, and is a bruiser who doesn't need the ball to be effective. Though on the other side of 30 he's been relatively healthy for his career.
Raymond Felton: Formerly a starter, the unrestricted free agent point guard is now a backup after his second season in Dallas (9.5 points, 3.6 assists). He’s still not a good shooter at 40.6% from the field and less than 30% from three-point range in 80 games and earned $3.95 million. In the past he's been unhappy with a backup role and he played a significant part in a fractured locker room which led to Nate McMillian getting fired from the Portland Trail Blazers a few years ago.
Chandler Parsons: The small forward had a $16 million player option that he is expected to exercise to become an unrestricted free agent. Coming off a major knee surgery, it’s difficult to see him commanding that much in the open market with Harrison Barnes more likely to be ahead of him in line. It would be hard to justify paying Parsons in the vicinity of that salary with Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre more than capable of filling that void at a much cheaper price to free up money for other needs.