With the season over, the team has started to formulate the plan to build for next season. Here’s what we know as of now.
As the Mavs enter the offseason, the team has made it clear that there is A LOT of work to do and they are going into it as ambitious as ever. With having the presumed Rookie of the Year on the roster in Luka Doncic and a basketball unicorn in Kristaps Porzingis, the Mavs are looking to go from the lottery to a perennial playoff contender in one summer. As Mavs Nation has pointed out over the last month of the season, there are many moving parts to keep track of and each one of them affects the other.
While every MFFL has an opinion on what the Mavs SHOULD do, there are precious few that know the plans and even fewer that are willing to share what those plans are. The Mavs Brain Trust of Donnie, Cuban and Carlisle have made it clear that they are still working through the philosophical direction the team is headed in for next year and beyond (whether they want to go full WIN NOW mode or youth and growth with their young stars), but there are some fixed points we know at this point.
The #1 priority this offseason is to offer former All-Star, Kristaps Porzingis, the full max contract available in order to lock in the tandem of KP & Luka for as long as possible. Kristaps is eligible to make $158M over 5 years and the Mavs have always made it clear to his camp that it was their intention to offer the full amount from the moment they traded for him. When the Mavs acquired him via trade, Mavs Nation reminded our dear readers that he should essentially be considered our “big fish” talent acquisition for this offseason. Nothing has changed in regards to this, and the team’s ability to add talent around him during free agency should all be viewed as a BONUS since we got a 23 yr old All-Star to add to our team next season.
During an interview on the Ben & Skin Show on 105.3 The Fan, Mark Cuban made it known that after signing KP, the next order of business is to extend Dwight Powell’s current contract. Dwight Powell currently has a player option for next season which would see him paid $10.3M and extending him for another 3 years accomplishes several goals. One, the Mavs get to retain a 27-year-old player who is in his prime and posting some of the most efficient offensive numbers in the league through 2022-23. Two, the extension would cap his price tag at $50.3M over the next 4 season (avg $12.5M/yr) which is the most modest of raises possible in the NBA.
Dwight gets security at a place he’s come to love and the Mavs get the player they want at a great price that keeps their options open, financially.
Of note: by signing an EXTENSION and not opting out for a new contract, it does not change the Mavs’ offseason cap numbers AT ALL. Win-Win.
The Mavs are planning to offer restricted free agents Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney-Smith modest contracts to put them on hold until they can get through the bulk of free agency. These low contracts afford the Mavs some time and needed the flexibility to flesh out their roster needs in free agency and THEN re-sign Maxi and Do Do to contracts after the fact with any number the two sides agree to. They are allowed to do this because the Mavs can sign their own players to contracts and go OVER the cap. All this has probably been made clear to the agents involved and hopefully, the Mavs can retain both players. It’s true that there is some gambling being done here that another team doesn’t blow either of these players away with contracts the Mavs aren’t willing to match, but that’s part of the chess that is NBA Free Agency.
The Mavs retaining one of the two of these players should be considered a high probability and retaining both of them on team friendly deals should be considered a massive win.
During Exit Interviews, Donnie Nelson addressed the issue of the Mavs youth playing in the summer league by saying that several players would be excluded from participation this year. He made it known that Luka Doncic, Jalen Brunson and Justin Jackson would all be left off of the summer league team and two-way players Daryl Macon and Kostas Antetokounmpo would be appearing with the team. While this isn’t any crazy news that Luka won’t join the summer league team, it is worth noting that Brunson and Jackson have played well enough to be left of the development team. This speaks to how highly the team values their contributions at their young ages and should be considered a compliment to their development with the team this season.
Rumored FA Targets
There are names circulating the Mavs already with no indication that any of the rumors have come from the Mavs front office. These rumors are USUALLY started by player agents to both draw interest and up the paydays for their clients by attaching their names to teams with money to spend. Any MFFL who is familiar with how tight-lipped this team is with rumors and leaks should understand that these rumors may be only that and should definitely be taken with a grain of salt.
Kemba Walker (PG, 25.5 ppg, 5.9 ast, 35.6 3PT%)
Kemba is a 29-year-old All-Star point guard with great scoring ability and excellent ball-handling skills that would be a solid addition to Carlisle’s flow offense on the offensive end making a “pick your poison” backcourt that would definitely cause other teams serious problems. He will be asking for a full max contract of around 4 years $120M+
Nikola Vucevic (C, 20.8 ppg, 12 rbs, 3.8 ast, 51.8 FG%, 36.4 3PT%)
Vuc is coming off of his first All-Star selection with numbers to match. He would add a modern stretch Center that would be somewhat interchangeable with KP on offense and provide the bulk of the rebounding for the team. While he would do a lot of what KP does on offense, he also has similar deficiencies on defense. He would be a good fit in some ways, but others he might be lacking. Vuc is more than likely commanding a near max contract of 4 years, $22M-25M per year.
Goran Dragic (PG, 13.7 ppg, 4.8 ast, 34.8 3PT%)
Dragic is a fellow Slovenian to our Wonderboy Luka Doncic and one of his basketball idols. Dragic is a fairly solid defender and has a good offensive game with a long injury history. It may not be All-Star Kemba quality offense, but he wouldn’t cost as much as maxing out Kemba would. At 33, Dragic would either like a high priced short term deal OR a cheaper long term deal to finish out his career as the Old Head to Luka Doncic. Dragic currently has a player option of $19.2M for 2019-2020.
This list of names is bound to grow as teams exit the playoffs and teams start deciding which directions they need to go to improve. Once the NBA Draft Lottery happens next month, we’ll more than likely need to update this list again to reflect new rumored Mavs “targets”.
As the offseason moves along, the Mavs will slowly reveal their team building intentions via the decisions they make between now and mid-July. Will we have a young team Luka and KP can truly make their own or a team that will win 50+ out of the gate and be an immediate playoff team? Only time will tell.
Featured Image: AP/LM Otero