With the Mavs in rebuild mode, whether they want to call it that or not, there is no question the goal is to improve and preferably get younger while they do it. The most obvious method for doing this is through the draft. Draft a young player on a relatively inexpensive contract and use the remainder of your cap to improve the team through free agency. This is the standard process, but it is not the fastest. It took the 76ers 5 years in the basement of the NBA to return to the playoffs. The Phoenix Suns have had one season with a record over .500 since the 09-10 season and they are still in the lottery. Mavs fans fear this fate and want to expedite the rebuild as fast as possible. So do the players. So does management. So how do you do that? You get crafty with what you’ve got.
What have the Mavs got?
As it currently stands, the Mavs have the 5th overall pick in the first round, the 33rd and 54th picks in the 2nd round. So they are laid out to get 3 players, one of which they expect to contribute to the team immediately. They also have roughly $25 million in cap space after their guaranteed contracts. Now, you can no longer ‘buy’ picks in the draft from other teams, but you can ‘trade’ picks and you can ‘trade’ players and attach picks to make the trade viable. So the Mavs have picks, players, and cash to make some moves come draft night.
Mavs could move up if they view a player as a MUST HAVE. For instance, if they want Doncic and think he will go at three, they can offer a young controllable asset like Dorian Finney-Smith, the fifth pick and cash to move up and take a player back from Atlanta to make it work, but this doesn’t seem too likely.
Mavs could combine their two second round picks to move up into the later first round. For instance, the Clippers have picks 12 & 13, so the Mavs could give up both second round picks and take Boban Marjanovic’s contract off of the Clippers’ books in exchange for the 13th pick. Now the Mavs have 2 first rounders, which would be ideal.
Rumors swirl around the Mavs and their pick. Two of my favorites that I think have some legs to them are below.
Faried & 14 – There is speculation that Denver wants to avoid the luxury tax from overspending on their guaranteed contracts and are open to trading their pick to do it. Kenneth Faried is owed $13.7M next year and Denver could use that kind of tax relief. Speculation is that they would be willing to give up their 14th pick for the chance to get off his money. Mavs have that much money, but it would limit their free agent spend after the draft.
Brown & 27 – The rumor is that the Celtics have made it known that they covet Mo Bamba and would be willing to give up their 27th pick and attach Jaylen Brown (3rd overall pick from 2016) to move up to 4 or 5 to get him. This rumor is on shaky legs because Brown has a lot of value to Boston, but it’s still fun to think about. What do the Mavs want more? A pick OR a proven scorer with a little more age?
Would you do any of these to expedite the rebuild? I know I can’t stop thinking about Faried & 14. You get Faried, who still has value AND you move to a portion of the draft full of wings who can shoot and defend. But it’s still a gamble. Would you do it?
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