Mavs' net haul from wild night: Two rookies, $1.09 million in cap space

DALLAS -- If Dirk Nowitzki had serious thoughts about moving into the Dallas Mavericks’ front office once he hangs up his Nikes, this draft might have served as a Scared Straight program.

Dirk’s first time sitting in the Mavs’ draft room was a wild, crazy experience. Just how hectic was it? President of basketball operations Donnie Nelson claimed that the battery on his cell phone ran out twice.

“There was more going on tonight than I’ve ever seen,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “If you were a first-timer in there, it was eye-opening.”

The Mavs made and received hundreds of calls throughout the course of the night. They discussed dozens of trades and actually pulled the trigger on three of them.

Want your head to spin? Try tracking the 43rd overall pick, which bounced from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Philadelphia 76ers to the Atlanta Hawks to the Mavs, who gave up the Brooklyn Nets’ 2014 second-rounder acquired in an earlier deal with the Boston Celtics and will end up with the rights to shooting guard Ricky Ledo once the league office gets around to approving the multi-team deal.

Got all that? Good.

The Mavs’ other trades:

*They sent the rights to No. 13 overall pick (Gonzaga power forward Kelly Olynyk) to the Celtics for No. 16 and two 2014 second-round picks.

*They sent No. 16 (Brazilian center Lucas Nogueira), guard Jared Cunningham and No. 44 overall (Mike Muscala, Bucknell forward) to Atlanta for No. 18 (Miami point guard Shane Larkin).

Essentially, the Mavs gave up their 2013 second-round pick to dump their 2012 first-round pick. Why? It’s all about the money.

“The financial piece of it is pretty critical at this juncture,” Nelson said. “It’s more of a timing thing than anything else. We’ve got to go into the offseason with the decks clear and clean.”

In other words, the Mavs need to have enough cap space to be able to sign Dwight Howard to a max contract if they can convince the perennial All-Star center to come to Dallas.

All of Thursday night’s moving and shaking created $1.09 million in additional cap space for the Mavs.

If you’re a basketball geek or need a cure for insomnia, here’s the math: The difference in the cap hold for No. 13 ($1,655,300) and No. 18 ($1,280,800) is $374,500. The difference in Cunningham’s 2013-14 salary ($1,208,400) and the roster cap hold ($490,180) is $718,220. Total sum of cap space created: $1,092,720.

The Mavs have $2.73 million to go to be positioned to sign Howard to a max deal starting with a $20.51 million salary.

On a potentially related note, the deadline for Shawn Marion to exercise his early termination option is Saturday. If he opts to do that, Marion becomes a free agent instead of being on the Mavs’ books for $9.32 million next season.

Potential win-win scenario: Marion, who shares an agent with Howard, exercises his ETO and re-signs with the Mavs at a reduced salary with the security of multiple years.

Stay tuned.

The draft was just the beginning of a wild few weeks of wheeling and dealing.