Dallas brings in ex-Warrior to join icon
When Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki opted out of his contract on June 21, it felt like a slight roadblock to an inevitable reunion between both sides. Little did Dallas fans know, however, that the team’s offseason haul would include so much more.
Besides rewarding No. 41 for almost two decades of faithful service, general manager Donnie Nelson snagged two major pieces from the scariest squad in the league. Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut arrived from Golden State at the beginning of the month, raising the Mavs’ Western Conference profile considerably.
Apparently, though, the personnel machinations in the Lone Star State need to sit with handicappers for a while longer. As training camp nears, sports book Bovada.lv gives the Mavs odds of +10000 to capture the 2016-17 title. Only three rivals out West – Denver (+30000), Sacramento (+30000) and Phoenix (+50000) – face greater obstacles at the betting windows.
Nelson expressed an early desire to land a big fish in free agency. Memphis floor general Mike Conley and Miami center Hassan Whiteside rejected overtures, and stayed in their respective cites. Enter Barnes and Bogut. The Warriors’ massive financial commitment to Kevin Durant rendered them unable to even entertain the idea of retaining either starter.
With the oft-injured Chandler Parsons coming off the books, Dallas was free to invest in Barnes’ enormous upside and Bogut’s knack for altering shots. Owner Mark Cuban expects an All-Star-caliber campaign out of Barnes in particular, citing the small forward’s athleticism, length and clean bill of health. The former UNC sensation stands to pull in $22.1 million next year.
Nowitzki’s new deal, however, guarantees him top billing for two additional seasons. The future Hall of Famer is set to nab $30 million in guaranteed money, and why can’t he continue to score roughly 18 points per contest? There are obviously many who believe this Nowitzki-Barnes pairing will fail to pay immediate dividends, but we’re intrigued to see how coach Rick Carlisle makes everything coalesce.