According to a recent report from Shams Charania of The Athletic (subscription required), the Dallas Mavericks have made re-signing Tim Hardaway Jr. a priority for them this offseason. As Paul Garcia pointed out once the report broke, if that’s the case, it could make it more likely the San Antonio Spurs could poach free John Collins from the Atlanta Hawks.
The Mavericks can open up to $25.5 million in cap space this offseason assuming Josh Richardson exercises his player option, but that would require letting Hardaway Jr. walk in free agency. If the report is true that they want to re-sign Hardaway Jr. above all else, then Dallas wouldn’t be able to send Collins a significant offer sheet.
This would leave the Spurs and Heat as the two biggest challengers to test Atlanta on matching an offer sheet should San Antonio or Miami send an offer sheet once free agency begins.
Less than two weeks ago, Shams Charania reported that sources were telling him the Spurs, Mavericks, Miami Heat, and Minnesota Timberwolves were among the teams expected to show interest in the 23-year-old power forward.
Project Spurs’ Paul Garcia previously broke down how teams like the Mavericks and Heat would have to lose key players to clear a decent amount of cap space. Guys like Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn, and Victor Oladipo would be involved. Minnesota, meanwhile, is in an even worse position. They would have to move about three to five players without taking back salary just to open about $20 million.
The San Antonio Spurs are projected to have the most cap space of any rumored Collins suitors with $49 million, meaning they could offer him a max deal.
For more on the original rumor of San Antonio having an interest in Collins, you can check out Spurscast episode 620 with Paul Garcia and Benjamin Bornstein.
The NBA’s official free agency period begins at 6 p.m. ET on Monday, August 2nd.