<
>

Mavs free agency preview: Power forwards

Dirk Nowitzki would accept a bench role if the Mavs can land LaMarcus Aldridge this summer. Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

The second in a five-part series previewing free agency for the Dallas Mavericks:

The San Antonio Spurs are widely seen as the frontrunners to land LaMarcus Aldridge in free agency. However, the Mavericks are believed to have a legitimate shot.

It helps that Dallas is home for Aldridge. He starred at Seagoville High in the Dallas Independent School District. He lives in the area during the offseason, and his mother lives here full-time. Unlike Dallas native Chris Bosh, playing in his hometown is apparently appealing to Aldridge.

The presence of assistant coach Kaleb Canales on the Mavs' staff could also be significant in the recruiting process. Aldridge and Canales grew close during their seven seasons together in Portland, with Aldridge publicly lobbying for Canales to become the full-time head coach after Canales' 23-game interim stint in 2012.

Dirk Nowitzki's willingness to come off the bench to make room for the perennial All-Star power forward in the starting lineup eliminates any potential awkwardness if Aldridge signs with the Mavs. Nowitzki would essentially pass the torch to Aldridge as the face of the franchise the moment the ink of the max contract is dry.

Aldridge and center DeAndre Jordan, in whatever order, are the Mavs' priority targets this summer. If the Mavs don't get Aldridge, it's doubtful that Nowitzki will make the transition to the bench. The Mavs aren't expected to be in on the bidding for Kevin Love or Paul Millsap.

Some other free agent power forwards who could be fits for the Mavs:

Josh Smith: The Mavs tried to sign Smith when he was waived by Detroit last season, but the Rockets were able to offer him more money and a larger role. That might be the case again this summer. However, he's intriguing because of his athleticism and versatility.

Brandon Bass: Bass' career took off after coming to Dallas as a minimum-salary reclamation project in 2007, spending two seasons with the Mavs. He'd be more expensive in his return, but he could provide some offensive punch off the bench for the right price.

Jordan Hill: He'd have to slip through the cracks to be in the Mavs' price range after making $9 million last season. He's long and athletic and could back up at power forward and center.

Ed Davis: He wants a multi-year contract in the $8-10 million-per-year range but is likely to be disappointed after playing for the minimum last season. He is coming off his best season, averaging 8.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks as a part-time player for a bad Lakers team last season. If he lands in Dallas, it will be for a fraction of his asking price.

Luis Scola: The Mavs tried to sign Scola a few summers ago when the Rockets used the amnesty clause to waive him. He's 35 now, but he's still effective in a limited role, averaging 9.4 points and 6.5 rebounds primarily off the Pacers' bench last season.

Andrea Bargnani: The former No. 1 overall pick hasn't quite lived up to the hype after being billed as a Dirk-like foreign import. He's capable of providing offense off the bench, but he makes the 37-year-old big German look like a shutdown defender. After making $11.5 million last season, Bargnani might have to settle for being a minimum-salary reclamation project.

Jason Smith: The Mavs showed some interest in Smith, a 7-footer with soft midrange touch, last summer before he signed a one-year, $3.3 million deal with the Knicks. The Mavs would likely offer him only the veteran's minimum.

Drew Gooden: The Mavs are one of 10 NBA teams the former No. 3 overall pick has played for, as he made a brief stop in Dallas in 2009-10 before departing as part of the deal that shipped off Josh Howard. Gooden left on good terms and could be a decent fit for the minimum, which is what he made in Washington last season, when he averaged 5.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in limited minutes.

Darrell Arthur: The former South Oak Cliff High star struggled in Denver the past two seasons, shooting 40 percent from the floor. At 27, could he revive his career by coming home as a reclamation project?

Matt Bonner: You can never have enough shooters. Bonner has hit some big shots during his 11-year career, spending the past nine seasons in San Antonio. He made the minimum this past season, so it's hard to imagine him leaving San Antonio if they put an offer on the table. But the Mavs could use him at that price.

Rashard Lewis: He agreed to a minimum deal with the Mavs last summer, but the deal was negated when a physical discovered that he needed knee surgery. He ended up sitting out the season. Turning 36 in August, could Lewis make a comeback?