The phones will be ringing non stop from 12:01 on July 1st when teams are officially allowed to talk about free agents. They're doing their homework on all the free agents around the league right now to see who will fit their team and salary cap. Were going to be helping them out a little bit by providing our own breakdown on each teams situation. This time it's the Southwest Division which is made up of the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Hornets and the San Antonio Spurs.
Dallas MavericksSeason Recap: Last seasons NBA champs were swept out in the first round to the Oklahoma City Thunder who we all know went on to win the title. The Mavericks were never the same from last seasons surge as Tyson Chandler, J.J Reddick left, along with having issues with Chandler's replacement Lamar Odom. Salary Cap Situation: It has been widely publicised that the Mavericks will be targeting 1 or 2 star free agents this off season with the amount of salary clearing going on. The goal is to try and get Dirk Nowitzki another champion before his career is over with a retooled roster. Last year the Mavericks were over the luxury tax threshold but will now find themselves under the soft salary cap because only 5 players on the Dallas roster are signed for the 2012-2013 season. This is a huge $25 Million difference. Plus Dallas has not used their amnesty clause get so they only have this off season left to waive a player's salary from the books. Free Agents: Jason Terry: 2011-2012 Salary $11.4 Million, unrestricted free agent. Terry last off season was denied a contract extension which showed Dallas was not interested in keeping him after this season. The Jet is available for any price. Lamar Odom: 2011-2012 Salary $8.9 Million, Team Option. Odom quit the Mavericks during the season and will not be back with the team next season which leaves him an unrestricted free agent. Jason Kidd: 2011-2012 Salary $8.5 Million, unrestricted free agent. Likewise Kidd has been showed no signs from Dallas that they want him back either. It leaves Dallas without a starting point guard so this is a high risk move. They're opening the doors for Deron Williams. According to insidehoops.com Jason Kidd has also expressed interest in the Nets and the Knicks. Vince Carter: 2011-2012 Salary $3.1 Million, Team Option. This is one option Dallas might be happy to pick up. This is a cheap contract and you get plenty of value in return. Carter might be a trade piece but his option will probably be picked up. Potential Targets: Deron Williams (Brooklyn Nets): The Mavericks have split the ocean for him to walk into Dallas and its an option Williams is considering. He has limited his options to the Brooklyn Nets and the Mavericks according to espn.com and this would be a huge coup for Dallas. Steve Nash (Phoenix Suns): Just about every team is interested in Steve and he would make a great second option if Dallas fails on getting Williams. Nash was once a Maverick so you never know if he'll want to come back. Outlook: Expect Dallas to be one of the most talked about teams in the off season as there are a lot of critical decisions to be made. This off season will shape their future and it looks like they are going all in on persuading a superstar or 2 to play for Dallas. They may end up giving Oklahoma City a run for their money next year if all goes right in the off season. Photo Credit: www.zimbio.com
Houston RocketsSeason Recap: Another so-so year for the Houston Rockets. They just missed out on the playoffs again after a tough 2 week schedule to finish the season. With a record of 34-32 they need to try and trade some of their average players for rising talent or if possible higher profile players. Salary Cap Situation: Houston has done well avoiding giving out ridiculous contracts to its players as they are only average in the NBA. There is plenty of room to move along with the amnesty clause still available for the Rockets to use. It leaves the potential for Houston to make some moves this off season. Free Agents: Marcus Camby: 2011-2012 Salary $9.2 Million, unrestricted free agent. At 38 years of age Camby is still going strong. I don't know how many years he has left to play in the NBA but he will be getting a pay cut if he does. Camby might retire, or otherwise teams looking for a big man role player will be inquiring about him. Terrence Williams: 2011-2012 Salary $2.3 Million, unrestricted free agent. May have to look elsewhere for another contract. He is not highly valued by the Rockets. Goran Dragic: 2011-2012 Salary $2.1 Million, unrestricted free agent. Kyle Lowry recently said that he found it unlikely that Dragic would return because Goran does not support the coach Kevin Mchale. He will be chasing a contract in the open market. Potential Targets: Leandro Barbosa (Indiana Pacers): He would make a great back up to Kevin Martin. It would provide a scoring punch off the bench and would give them someone to defend either point guards or shooting guards. Chris Kaman (Los Angeles Clippers): A 7 footer that can lock down the paint and grab 10 rebounds a night. Also has a mid range jump shot that he and Luis Scola could do together. Outlook: Houston has been a team over the last 5 years that has looked to get involved by shuffling their roster around. They are still trying to leave being an average team in the past and become a good playoff team. It depends on the moves they make before next season. Photo Credit: www.nba-online.com
Breakdowns on the Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Hornets and San Antonio Spurs can be found in part 2. Photo Credit: (top) www.chron.com