Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks are without question one of the most intriguing teams to watch every offseason in NBA free agency. He is willing to spend big money to make his franchise a legitimate contender each and every season. That has been proven in the past, and it will have a big chance to be proven again next offseason.
There have not been many NBA offseasons with the kind of talent available in free agency that the 2017 NBA free agency market has. It boasts a large class of stars and an impressive amount of mid-level talent.
Looking ahead to the market next offseason, there are a few players Cuban could target. Dirk Nowitzki isn’t getting any younger, however, which makes a big man a likely option for the Mavericks.
Serge Ibaka is set to hit open free agency, and the Mavericks should seriously pursue a deal with him.
Earlier this offseason, Ibaka was traded to the Orlando Magic as part of a draft-night deal that sent Victor Oladipo to the Oklahoma City Thunder, as ESPN previously reported.
While there is still a chance that Ibaka could consider re-signing with the Magic, it isn’t the most likely option for him. Testing the open free agency market for a team that can offer him a better chance to win a title is the much more likely route. Ibaka will have no shortage of interest from around the league, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Mavericks have serious interest in signing him.
Last season with Oklahoma City, according to ESPN statistics, Ibaka ended up averaged 12.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game. He shot 47.9 percent from the field overall and knocked down 32.6 percent of his three-point attempts. Ibaka is more than capable of a bigger role within a different offense, and he will prove that in 2016-17 with the Magic.
At just 26-years-old, Ibaka is one of the more dominant big men on the defensive end of the court. He has averaged 2.5 blocks per game throughout his career as a whole. That stat alone will interest a lot of teams, especially the Mavericks, who are in need of a boost on that end of the court.
Dallas will need to find a replacement for Nowitzki at some point in the near future. What better way to figure out the future than by bringing in a young talent that they can build around. Ibaka may not be a legitimate No. 1 scorer, but he is more than capable of being a supporting scorer and leader on both ends of the court.
Harrison Barnes signed a four-year max contract this offseason, as Marc Stein of ESPN originally reported. He will be a huge piece of the future for the Mavericks and has the potential to develop into a top scorer.
Pairing Ibaka with Barnes could be a duo that takes the Mavericks back into serious contention in the future.
If the Mavericks seriously want to sign Ibaka, they will have to be incredibly aggressive in their pursuit of him. Other teams will throw max offers at him as well and will have aggressive pitches prepared for him in meetings.
Ibaka may not be the best free agent on the market, but he is well worth the price tag for a team like the Mavericks. He would be a long-term fixture of their franchise and there is plenty of room for him to grow and improve. Cuban will likely push for a meeting with him, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the two sides get something done.
Do you think that Serge Ibaka would be a good fit for the Dallas Mavericks? What other teams do you think should pursue Ibaka when 2017 NBA free agency gets underway? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Photo by Sue Ogrocki/AP Images]