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Mavericks Like Gasol in Free Agent Market

The NBA Southwest division Dallas Mavericks will be amongst a number of teams pursuing Pau Gasol the center and power forward for the Los Angeles Lakers once July 1 arrives and free agents can start contract negotiations, according to people close to the matter.

The level of interest by the Mavs for the 7-foot Spaniard is dependent in a large part by the price tag he will have. Gasol has been on the All-Star team four times and will turn 34 in July. He is expecting to accept a large pay cut from the $19.3 million he earned with the Lakers last season.

Gasol could be the best opportunity the Mavericks have in upgrading in the free agent market their center position. The Mavs are also interested in Marcin Gortat the center of the Washington Wizards, whom they attempted to sign in 2009 as a restricted free agent.

However, sources have said that Dallas could be priced out of the hunt for Gortat as Washington has a great deal of space under the new salary cap and could convince the center to remain with the core of young talent they have.

Last month it was reported that Dallas would be looking to trade for Tyson Chandler if the New York Knicks made him available, but now with Gasol coming available it is a tossup whether they would trade for Chandler or go on the open market for Gasol.

The Mavs are expected to have about $30 million in space under the salary cap when July 1 rolls around and the free agent market opens.

Dirk Nowitzki said he wanted to sign with Dallas after completing his four-year deal and is willing to sign for substantially less than he did four years ago.

Dallas would not have the amount under the cap they would need for Gasol if they end up successfully recruiting Carmelo Anthony the small forward and perennial All-Star.

The Mavs would look to have Anthony, but realistically feel he will end up in Chicago, Houston or possibly even Miami.

Sources have also said Dallas is interested in Luol Deng the small forward, but are worried about injuries as he has missed 75 games over the past four seasons.

If Dallas can sign Gasol, it would give them two veteran 7-footers from Europe. It would increase the team’s strength on offense, which was one of the best this past season.

In 60 games last season for the Lakers, Gasol averaged 17 points, 10 boards and 3 assists.

Even though the offense would be superior to most in the NBA with Nowitzki and Gasol, there would be major issues defensively with the two.

However, Dallas still will have Samuel Dalembert their starting center from last season, which would give Rick Carlisle the team’s head coach a better option at center.

With managing the minutes for Nowitzki a priority, Gasol would likely play an equal number of minutes at power forward as he would at center, if the Mavs signed him.

Dallas will also look at the trade market for upgrading their center position.

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