Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 3/16/12
DALLAS -- There are lazy assumptions being made regarding the Dallas Mavericks and their cap. There is inaccurate information being issued regarding the money Deron Williams can be paid if he joins the Mavs in the Summer of 2012. But there is nothing dull or unclear about the facts, or about the intentions expressed in recent hours by Deron or by Mavs GM Donnie Nelson. "It's a position we haven't been in recently, Donnie said Thursday as the NBA trade deadline passed. "This gives us an opportunity to see if we can't get out there and land a big fish. Nelson can't name the name. But we can. The big fish is the perennial All-Star point guard Deron Williams from The Colony, who can be a free agent and can leave the Nets this summer. Is he planning on leaving? "I'm not opting-in," Williams told the New York Daily News today. "It's not monkey-seemonkey-do." Williams' comment is a reflection on Dwight Howard's decision to opt-in with his present team in Orlando, a move that may take Howard off the summer market. But Deron? He's clearly prepared to shop himself. And the defending-champion Mavs are clearly prepared to buy. "We like the flexibility we have this summer," Nelson said. "We feel like we're in a little bit of a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too' (situation) in that we can contend this year and then come summertime we can be active out in the market." And how does that market look? There are some 2012 Mavs numbers that are fixed. Dirk Nowitzki, for instance, will get 20,907,128. That's locked in. There are other numbers that remain fluid. For instance, no matter how many times some outlets keep writing that the 2012-13 cap will be 58.044 million, they are wrong wrong in thinking it's fixed. The lowest the cap can be is be 58.044 million. Depending on NBA revenue, it can also be 60 million. Or 61 million. Or whatever. (Using the most reliable source we've found over the last few years in predicting the cap, some currently project it to be 61.078 million for 2012-13.) That will have a great deal of influence regarding what other moves the Mavs make to supplement the employment of Dirk and the addition of a "big fish." What will Dallas be able to pay Deron Williams? One outlet has announced that the number is "four years and 59 million so far off that we assume it to be a typo. Here are the facts and the true numbers: Deron will probably be limited by a first-year max of 17,177,795, which is 105 percent of his prior salary. But by rule, that limit would be increased to "30 percent of the cap" if the NBA's 2012-13 salary cap is higher than 60,792,168. Which is possible. But using numbers as they stand: With his raises over the course of the four years, Deron's total contract in Dallas will be at least 73.5 million. It is obviously true that he can make more money over the course of this next contract by sticking with New Jersey and thus being given a fifth year. It's also true that in Deron's comments today, the DFW native talked of wanting to sign in a place where he will eventually retire a tip to the fact that that he's only 27, and that after this four- or five-year contract will come another one, a final once. Do we know where Deron will land? No, though from a Mavs perspective, it is clear they are being dealt into a poker game in which there are precious few chairs. But while we await the courtships that will commence on July 1, know that low-ball guesses on his salary and low-ball guesses on what the cap will be are worthy of correction. And know that there is this one "big fish" worth courting and worth catching.
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