Dirk Nowitzki tries to explain why free agents might not sign with Mavericks

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For some reason, the Dallas Mavericks have not been able to attract any major free agents to sign with the club in recent years.

Despite having a player-friendly owner in Mark Cuban, state-of-the-art facilities, nice weather year-round and no state income tax, Dallas has struck out on guys like Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan, Mike Conley and Hassan Whiteside in the last handful of offseasons.

Instead, they’ve spent a lot of money on long-term deals for guys like Chandler Parsons, Wesley Matthews and Harrison Barnes, all of whom are on a clear tier below the All-Star level.

What could the issue be? Do guys not like Dirk Nowitzki, who has been a common denominator over the last two decades with the club? Or, is it coach Rick Carlisle? Could it be Cuban? Could it be the city? It’s been difficult to figure out what the deal is.

When asked by Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News, Nowitzki expressed his confusion.

"Usually, when something like that continues to happen, everybody has to look in the mirror and ask where we can get better,” Nowitzki said. "Is it Dirk? Is it the owner? Is it management? Is it the players? Is it the facilities? Is it the city?”

He continued, “I mean, you have to paint yourself a big picture and try to get better in all areas. We've struck out on some of the names we wanted, especially a couple years ago when we couldn't get the big guys we were going after. Unfortunately, that's part of it.”

The culprit

After doing a lot of thinking about it, he came up with a possible reason.

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"If you plan on cap space, and that's what we did after the lockout (in 2011), this is part of the deal," he said. "If you have cap space, other teams may have it, too, so players have options and unfortunately those guys that we went after decided against us.”

Since the NBA’s salary cap generally increases on a yearly basis, teams gain some room to financially maneuver in the offseason. Although the changes are usually small, it could make or break free agent signings.

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While that excuse is an interesting topic to discuss, it still doesn’t answer why no high-profile free agents have decided to end up in Dallas. Since cap space increases across the board, everyone is on the same playing field.

The Mavericks have just under $60 million tied up in contracts for next season. While free agents like Seth Curry and Yogi Ferrell are candidates to potentially receive new deals with the club, the Mavs will have the chance to extend a max contract to someone if they want to.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the team could extend a deal to DeMarcus Cousins, who is recovering from an Achilles injury.

Although Cousins is an All-NBA talent, he might not receive a great deal of interest given the severity of his injury and the unknowns that it will create moving into the future. Since he has a large frame and has never experienced a similar injury, there are more questions than answers. Therefore, if Dallas wants to get over the hump and finally make a huge signing, they could roll the dice on him and offer him a multi-year, max contract, something he may not get elsewhere.

But, as seen in recent years, it seems as though centers in particular want no part of joining the Mavs.

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