After being swept in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, Mark Cuban and his Dallas Mavericks started the offseason on a similarly disappointing note. Cuban was unable to retain sixth man extraordinaire Jason Terry, who inked a three-year, $15 million deal with Boston (Dallas didn't match the offer) and Jason Kidd, who signed with the Knicks. Worse, he was unable to lure homegrown point guard Deron Williams, who resigned with the Brooklyn Nets
Given the dearth of big men available, the Mavericks have now amnestied the chronically average Brendan Haywood in order to make room for center Chris Kaman, who will sign a one-year contract worth $8 million. The move was also executed so that the Mavs could pursue former All-Star power forward Elton Brand, whom Philadelphia amnestied on Wednesday. In an effort to get quicker on the perimeter, Dallas traded for Indiana point guard Darren Collison and defensive ace Dahntay Jones. The price however, was the raw but talented Ian Mahinmi, whom head coach Rick Carlisle told me last offseason he really liked. Then again, he will earn $16 million over the next four seasons. The really positive element here for Dallas is that Jones has just one year left on his deal, and Collison will become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2013.
Another free agency question of note is the future of Antawn Jamison, who averaged over 17 points and 6 rebounds last season in Cleveland. Jamison, 36, is still searching for his first ring and has generated interest from the LA Lakers. Charlotte meanwhile, is also interested and has more money to offer. Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak wants to offer the veteran minimum of $1.35 million along with the chance to compete for a ring, something Michael Jordan cannot do.
Houston is going to sign Jeremy Lin to a four-year offer sheet worth $28.8 million, but everything I'm hearing suggests the Knicks will match and retain their highly coveted restricted free agent point guard, especially with the uncertainty moving forward with the injured Iman Shumpert.
And, of course, there is Dwight Howard, whose trade saga has only grown more complicated with time. As I've reported for a while, his only desire is to join the Nets. That, however, is not going to happen; at least not this season. While both the Rockets and Lakers have joined the mix in a potential three-team trade with the Magic (that would send Andrew Bynum to Houston, not Orlando), recently named Magic GM Rob Hennigan desperately wants to hold on to his superstar. The risk he runs is substantial though: Howard will be gone after next season for absolutely nothing in return. That sounds eerily similar to another Superman center who started his career in Disney World, doesn't it?
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