This offseason’s biggest domino has fallen, and the Dallas Mavericks’ free agency plans can now move forward. Gordon Hayward opted to take his talents to Boston, and the Celtics are more than happy to welcome him despite the numerous roster moves required to do so. Teams can now begin officially signing players and making trades.
The Celtics are reportedly aggressively shopping Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, and Avery Bradley. They will most likely need to move only one of those three. A number of their other bench players will also be renounced or waived. Who could the Mavericks possibly poach from Boston as they shed salary to create cap space for their new, prized small forward?
Mavericks fans will remember Crowder as the team’s second-round steal who blossomed after being traded to Boston. Crowder started at small forward for the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics, but he had to endure the team’s season-long flirtation with his replacement in Hayward. Crowder was unable to keep his dissatisfaction to himself, and may be the player most likely to be traded due to concerns over team chemistry. He would fill the Mavericks’ need for backup forwards, and he has a reasonable contract for the next three years at $6.8 million, $7.3 million, and $7.8 million. The latest reports from Boston are that they are exploring a sign-and-trade involving Crowder and Hayward.
The Flower Mound product has made a name for himself as a defensive stopper capable of defending multiple positions. He’d be a good fit for the Mavericks on defense, but would be shaky at best on offense, where he has failed to live up to expectations he established as a collegiate superstar at Oklahoma State. He’s on the final year of his rookie contract at $4.5 million, and is due for a raise after the upcoming season. Could the Mavericks bring him in for a year-long audition?
Because of his important role on the Celtics, prying away Boston's defensive ace would be difficult. Putting Bradley next to Dennis Smith Jr. is a tempting proposition. Set to make $8.8 million next year, Bradley is also eligible for a large contract after the upcoming season. The Mavericks most likely don’t have the trade assets to convince the Celtics to deal what should be a one-year rental.
Traded by the Mavericks in the 2013 draft, it wouldn’t be too surprising for Dallas to pass on another opportunity to add the talented big man. Olynyk has a diverse offensive game but is a poor rebounder with limited defensive skills. His adoration of Dirk Nowitzki is well documented, so perhaps he’d be willing to take a pay cut to play with his basketball hero. Olynyk is likely to receive offers in the 3-year, $30 million range.
Boston has already waived Tyler Zeller and Jonas Jerebko, James Young, Gerald Green, Demetrius Jackson and Terry Rozier could be made available. The free agency landscape has changed dramatically since July 1st. And with Dirk signing a below-market extension, the Mavericks can now join in on the chaos.