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Cheap Trick: Dirk Deal + 2nd-Year Opt-Out
The Mavs will make their big splash with the opening of the NBA free-agent shopping season and with plans to host Carmelo Anthony on Wednesday. What if Melo says yes? What if LeBron says yes?
According to our calculations, If the cap lands at $63.2 mil as has been projected, the Mavs will be left with $25.87 mil of open space. LeBron's max can be around $20 mil and Melo's max about $22.5 mil. But won't the Mavs be handicapped in their financial offer to those superstars once Dirk takes his guessed-at $10 mil or so from that cap room?
Under any circumstances, Dirk would still get a $10 mil-or-so slice of the remaining $26 mil or so, right? Maybe not.
After Carmelo Anthony meets with the Bulls in Chicago today, then on Wednesday meets in Houston with the Rockets, he comes into Dallas to meet with the Mavericks. Also on tap are conversations, and perhaps meetings, with LeBron's agent at some point. (Dirk has told DB.com he will be a chief recruiter in this process.)
During the courtships, we believe Dallas will discuss with them the concept of "shared sacrifice" with the understanding that there are three obvious "keys'' to making it all fit (detailed here). But we also wonder if, when it comes to the acquisition of the biggest of fish, that "shared sacrifice" concept could cause the Mavs and Dirk to consider a different sort of solution to the "respect" that Dirk wants demonstrated in a new deal, reduced though it will be.
As we've written before: What if the only way to sign Dirk's heir is to give that guy (let's say Melo) his $22 mil? (Yes, you'd like "shared sacrifice" from Sammy Superstar, too. We'll see.) And certainly, LeBron has let it be known that his price tag is a max deal - maybe take it or leave it.
Rather than abandoning the possibility of those superstars in Mavs uniform, here's an advantageous way they can get theirs and Dirk can still get his.
The Mavs sign Dirk to a two-year deal, but for a tiny amount. To take it to the extreme, we'll say it is literally the minimum, which on paper would pay Dirk $1.45 mil in 2014-15 and $1.5 mil the following season. .
In that event, Dirk could be signed last this summer, into one of the now-empty salary slots, and the entire $25.87 mil in cap room could be spent elsewhere.
But that second year in that scenario would be written as a player option. And the plan all along would be that Dirk opt out of that second year. At that time, in the summer of 2015, Dallas would still have his Bird Rights but the cap hold for his Bird Rights, coming off a minimum salary, would be the minimum rather than an enormous number.
That would allow the Mavs, with the expiring contracts of Tyson Chandler and perhaps Monta Ellis, to have sizable cap room again if needed, and more importantly would allow them money to land the superstar and form the foundation in 2014.
How does Dirk get taken care of "with respect" in that scenario? It's easy. After he opts out in 2015, and after the Mavs do their spending of any cap room, the Mavs could then sign Dirk to any size contract up to the max salary, which should be in excess of $20 mil. Combined with the $1.45 mil he would have already been paid in 2014-15, Dirk would still walk away with a total matching or exceeding what he would get if he signed for $10 mil or more this summer with a raise the next year.
Juggled properly, the Mavericks would then have: Anthony making the max, Dirk getting a monster raise, Chandler coming off the books but theoretically re-upping for far less than his present $15 mil (or leaving, providing more room), perhaps Ellis re-signing for a longer deal, and maybe $13 mil of Dry Powder.
This doesn't change Dirk as a priority and in fact, over the course of two years or more actually makes him more money. More money (just delayed a bit), Anthony, and the "respect" that comes with playing on a contender for a title.
Is it an extreme solution? Yes it is.
Nevertheless, it is an available CBA trick up the Mavs' sleeve if the need arises and the Mavs and Dirk want to go to extremes. ... all based on the possibility that a big fish says "yes.''