Mavs Face Off-Season Decisions on Familiar Faces

The Mavs have twice as many free agents (six) as they won playoff games (three). But when you have a lifer like Dirk Nowitzki at the top of the roster, things aren’t as bleak as they may appear.

In the wake of pushing the Spurs to seven games, the Mavs enter the summer with decisions to make on six players: Dirk, Vince Carter, Shawn Marion, Devin Harris, DeJuan Blair and Bernard James.

Nowitzki is a lock to be in Dallas next season and until the day his hangs up his Hall-of-Fame sneakers. Carter – who I regret dogging early in the season and who was impressive the second half of the year and into the playoffs – will also likely be back. Dirk remains the face of the franchise and Carter showed he still has enough hops and enough range to be a dependable Sixth man.

Then, however, it gets a bit murky.

Blair is an effort guy who helped Dallas win Game 6 against San Antonio, but he will most assuredly explore his options and find more playing time with another team. James is a former second-round draft pick who hasn’t sniffed his potential and, therefore, hasn’t forged any consistent playing time. It would be a shock if either is a Mav come 2015.

Marion remains a defensive chameleon who can guard anyone from point guards to power forwards. But his offense and outside shot slipped in the post-season, almost to the point of being an offensive liability. He could return, but in a lesser role.

The Mavs would love to have Harris back. He’s their quickest player, a good enough shooter to play two guard while also the perfect change-of-pace backup to point guard Jose Calderon. Harris wants to return, but only if he’s offered a multi-year deal. Harris, remember, agreed to a three-year contract last summer before a toe injury forced the Mavs to back down to a one-year offer.

Said Mavs General Manager Donnie Nelson to reporters earlier this week at American Airlines Center, “We look forward to Devin being a permanent fixture within the Mavs’ organization. We hope that will be the case.”

My guess is that next season will open with Dirk and Carter and Harris on the roster. Among Mavs’ free agents, Marion will be the most interesting transaction of the summer.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

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