Monday, June 30, 2008

Making the most of Free Agency

The Christmas Shopping Season officially begins the day after Thanksgiving. The NBA’s version tips off about five months earlier. Once June becomes July on the East Coast, the frenzy begins for teams looking to upgrade with other team’s players.

The Mavericks, like everyone else, are set to begin negotiating with free agents at midnight EST. Deals can’t be signed until July 9, when the moratorium period concludes, but you can expect agreements between players and teams to become public as early as Tuesday morning.

Much as last week’s NBA Draft, the Mavs have their wish list in place. The strategy going into the Draft centered on realistic options with the 51st pick. Shan Foster, the team’s lone draftee, was one of three best players that team felt could still be available late in the second round.

Free agency functions much the same way. The Mavs have about as much chance at signing Gilbert Arenas as drafting Derrick Rose. The trick is being realistic, especially with only the mid-level exception of about $5.5 million to spend.

“We’ve got more scenarios than you can shake a stick at,” president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. “We’re ready to jump into it at 11 o’clock our time. The emphasis is to get the best that you can for the slot. You can split it or go from one.”

Read the rest of this story and view a complete list of free agents at

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