With the Mavs left to watch the remainder of the playoffs from the comfort of their homes, Jason Terry's future with the team remains up in the air. Having spent eight seasons with the Mavs and winning an NBA championship last season, Terry will have to decide if he wants to return to Dallas, sign with another contender or attempt to secure one last sizable paycheck from the highest bidder. The former Arizona star remains a viable offensive option even as he turns 35 this September after a season in which he averaged 15.1 PPG and 3.6 APG.
There's a lot to like about Terry beyond just the points that he will provide at the shooting guard position. While he's advancing in age, Terry has stayed healthy practically his entire career as he's never played less than 74 games in a non-lockout season over his 13 years in the league. Terry's also a solid defender who has the ability to create points on the defensive end of the court by stealing the ball (1.3 SPG over the course of his career) and playing high-energy defense. He made over $11MM this past season but should be willing to accept a sizable decrease in salary with adding another ring to his collection taking precedent over the size of his paycheck.
Terry is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and will seemingly have a variety of options to choose from as he enters the twilight of his career. There's a chance the Mavs attempt to re-sign him, but owner Mark Cuban will more likely focus his attention on luring Deron Williams to Dallas and keeping Jason Kidd in blue and white to back him up. If Cuban does want to bring Terry back it would be at a price lower than market value to an already-aging roster that requires serious upgrading after being swept by the Thunder.
Terry spoke on Saturday after the team's Game 4 loss to the Thunder and addressed his future with the Mavs. "You know we like to make changes year-in and year-out, but not a complete overhaul," Terry said. "That’s what this is going to be, an entire different ballclub I would expect. But, the formula is there, the formula’s there. We set the bar very high last year with what we did and what we accomplished. They know the formula and it’s on them to put it back together."
Earlier in the year there was speculation that Terry would be heading to the Heat to provide depth to a suspect bench. While Terry would potentially be a good fit in Miami, the Heat lack the cap space to sign him unless he is willing to take a significant pay cut to take his talents to South Beach. The Heat's involvement with Terry will depend on how they fare over the course of playoffs. If they win the championship, it becomes less likely that they would seriously consider signing Terry. Conversely, if the Heat's bench fails to provide the Big Three the support they need to win a ring, then look for Miami to at least engage Terry's agent in preliminary conversation about a contract.
Beyond the Mavs and the Heat, Terry's options vary depending on the role that teams want the veteran to assume on their respective rosters. Terry has enjoyed success as a starter as well as while the sixth man on a championship team. Jet is only 6-foot-2 but has the quickness to create his own shot off the dribble and can even play the point guard position if necessary. Beyond age and decreasing offensive productivity, Terry has been known as a streaky shooter throughout his tenure in the NBA and will presumably become even more so as his career winds down.
Whatever team ends up with Terry can expect 25 to 30 minutes per game with 13 to 15 points per contest. He is a proven winner with experience thriving in a locker room full of superstars and big personalities. Look for Terry to land with a contending team in search of a missing piece to make a championship run.