With Chandler Parsons exit likely, Mavs expected to meet with Batum

Charlotte Hornets small forward Nicolas Batum is expected to meet with the Dallas Mavericks in free agency, a league source told ESPN.

The Mavs are exploring options to replace small forward Chandler Parsons, who sources say is expected to leave in free agency with Dallas declining to offer him a maximum contract and prioritizing other targets.

Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley and Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside are the Mavs' top priorities, and sources say Dallas is prepared to offer both players max deals.

If the Mavs are successful with their ambitious Plan A, they would not have cap space to spend at small forward and would likely promote Justin Anderson after a promising end to the 2015 first-round pick's rookie year.

The versatile Batum, who played with Mavs shooting guard Wesley Matthews in Portland, could rank at or near the top of Dallas' contingency plans. He averaged 14.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists for the Hornets last season after being traded from Portland to Charlotte over the summer.

The Hornets are still widely considered front-runners to keep Batum, especially if Charlotte is willing to offer him a fifth year on his contract, which only the Hornets can do. Batum, 27, an eight-year veteran, is eligible for a max contract for $153 million over five years from Charlotte or $113.6 million over four years from other suitors.

Batum tweeted Thursday morning that he was flying from Paris to Dallas, where his agent, Bouna Ndiaye, is based.