Today's rumor is that the Dallas Mavericks have interest in signing Jrue Holiday. Holiday is an unrestricted free agent with a lot of different talents, and he would certainly fit the bigger picture of what the Mavericks are trying to do. Whether or not it’s at all a likely bid or a good use of money is another question altogether.
First, the good news. Jrue has seven years of experience in the league but for all that is only 26 years old. Although he’s often flown under the radar, he is a terrific distributor, averaging 7 or more assists per game in all but one of his last four seasons. He’s not a great scorer, but he’s a good one, posting 15-16 points a game for the last three years. He has also, throughout his career, been a fairly good three-point marksman, which is important to the Mavericks’ offensive schemes. Holiday is generally regarded as one of the league's best defensive point guards.
To counter-balance all that, there are at least two pieces of pretty bad news. The first is Jrue’s health: in his entire career, Jrue has played 82 games just one time. The Sixers apparently concealed a serious leg injury he’d suffered before trading him to the Pelicans and he’s missed significant time since. In his first year with the team, he played in 34 games; in the second, 40. His 65 two years ago and 67 last year are more encouraging, but it’s tough to know how to value a guy that young who has missed so many games in his career.
Second, it’s not clear what a Mavs approach to free agency would look like as they do not project to have a lot of cap space. They owe roughly fifty million to Dirk Nowitzki and Harrison Barnes and another twenty-seven million to Wes Matthews and Dwight Powell. Dirk's money is under a team option, and as always, there’s speculation that he would be willing to take less, but my question there is if he WERE willing, why did he ask to be paid 25 million a year at the age of 37 in the first place? I have no problem with him getting paid, but I suspect he doesn’t either.
Of course, what this means is that Mavericks free agent speculation is itself evidence that they are considering shedding some cap space if possible. Matthews and Powell are the obvious candidates here, as Matthews likely does not factor into the next phase of Dallas basketball and Powell has not demonstrated much growth since he was acquired in the ill-fated Rajon Rondo deal. Whether anyone else would have interest in two oversized contracts is hard to say, but one can imagine the Pelicans accepting a sign and trade for Wes Matthews if Jrue wants to be a Maverick.
All things considered, free agency is a long way away, but this rumor nevertheless demonstrates some interesting trains of thought from the Mavs’ front office. Then again, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in ten years of covering the Mavs, it’s that the rumors you hear about are very rarely the ones that phase into reality.
For more on rumors about basketball or Rumors the Fleetwood Mac album, you can follow Andrew Tobolowsky on Twitter at @AndyTobo.