Don't expect any of the Dallas Mavericks' other free agents to join Dirk Nowitzki in giving the team a steep hometown discount.
The Mavs want to re-sign Devin Harris, Vince Carter and Shawn Marion, and that appears to be the order of the team's priority among the key members of Nowitzki's supporting cast who are testing the open market. However, the odds of keeping all three free-agent core players seem increasingly slim.
It will be practically impossible if the Mavs accomplish their goal of replacing Marion in the starting lineup, especially if Carmelo Anthony gets all the available cap space that doesn't go to Nowitzki. In that case, the Mavs might not be able to keep any of their other core free agents.
A look at how the market might develop for each of the three:
Harris: Mark Cuban's late Monday dinner date had a natural "starting point" to his negotiations, the term he used in reference to the three-year, $9-plus million deal he originally agreed to with the Mavs last summer, only to accept the veteran's minimum after a pre-signing physical evaluation revealed he needed complicated toe surgery.
As much as he wants to be back in Dallas, Harris has made it clear he doesn't intend to go south of that starting point.
Shaun Livingston got $16 million over three seasons from the Golden State Warriors. That doesn't necessarily set the market for Harris, but you can be certain agent Jeff Schwartz noticed it. Same with the two-year, $9 million deal that over-the-hill Ben Gordon got from the Orlando Magic. And the three-year, $12 million deal injured sharpshooter Patty Mills received to stay with the San Antonio Spurs.
A $3 million salary might have been the starting point for Harris, but it'd be surprising to see him settle for less than a three-year deal averaging at least $4 million at this point.
Carter: There's no question Carter outperformed his three-year, $9.3 million deal with the Mavs. He's not looking to break the bank after making more than $160 million in his career, but he doesn't want to be one of the league's best bargains again, either.
Carter truly does want to return to the Mavs -- and would probably pick Dallas even over Miami if the money was equal -- but not if it means taking a pay cut after already being a bargain.
Marion: The warm, fuzzy feelings from the past five years and the 2011 title run probably have been bumped aside by the harsh business of the NBA.
The Mavs are aggressively trying to replace the 36-year-old Marion with a younger, higher-scoring small forward in the starting lineup. Coming off the bench in Dallas might be a tough pill for Marion to swallow, and he certainly isn't going to take less money to do it.
Just a hunch, but the Mavs might have to be the high bidder or at least even to bring Marion back even if they miss out on their other small-forward targets and need him as a starter. He has made it clear he wants to add to his legacy with another ring, and the rumored interest Miami has in him as a replacement for the retired Shane Battier will surely be reciprocated. Sources expect Marion to earn as much as $5 million next season.