Source: Mavs 'real players' for LeBron, Melo

The Mavericks' decision-makers don't know how good their odds are of landing LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony in free agency.

They are certain, however, that those odds got a heck of a lot better in the last few hours.

"It makes us real players for LeBron [or] Carmelo," a team source told ESPNDallas.com after completing the trade that brought center Tyson Chandler back to Dallas.

The Mavs will attempt to convince one of the perennial All-Star small forwards to join Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler in a frontcourt that they believe would be the best in the league.

Dallas has approximately $26.5 million in salary cap space before re-signing Nowitzki, who has long been committed to taking a major pay cut to allow the Mavs to add talent around him. Nowitzki has been expected to give Dallas a Tim Duncan-like discount ($10 million per year), but he might be willing to accept even less to make room for James or Anthony. The Mavs could also make other moves to create more cap space, if necessary.

With Chandler’s contract expiring after this season, the Mavs will be positioned again next summer to make another run at a superstar in free agency even if they are successful next season. The free-agency class of 2015 could include Kevin Love, Marc Gasol and Dallas native LaMarcus Aldridge.

The Mavs have failed to land a big fish the last couple of summers in free agency, but the front office is full of optimism again after adding more bait with Wednesday’s big deal.