It’s finally draft week ladies and gentlemen!
Every General Manager will be fielding calls to see if they can finagle more draft picks or offload a bad contract before Thursday’s 2019 NBA draft.
The rumor mill is swirling and the Mavericks are one of the teams jockeying for position in the Free Agency game of musical chairs. There is a large indication Kyrie Irving will be a Brooklyn Net next year and it is unlikely they will retain D’Angelo Russell to pair with in the backcourt.
That could be a good thing for Dallas, as the 23-year-old All-Star in Russell could view the Mavericks as a young, up and coming team that his career to another level. The only problem with that, is there are many other teams that can wine & dine him sharing that same pitch to him in the Suns, Pacers, Jazz, and Knicks.
Say Russell does, in fact, agree to terms with another team, at least there’s still Kemba Walker which the Mavs have been linked with since March. The probability of seeing Kemba in a Mavs uniform took a hit when he was awarded All-NBA Third Team and is now eligible for the Super-Max contract; which would allow Charlotte to offer him 80 million more than the rest of the competition. With Charlotte only making the playoffs twice in his tenure, there could be a possibility of leaving the money on the table and ring chase. The Lakers after the Anthony Davis trade eclipsed the Mavericks in that pitch as of now.
So where does that leave Dallas? My guess is on the outside looking in just like years prior in Free Agency.
That’s where Mike Conley comes in. Memphis will most likely be selecting Ja Morant with the 2nd overall pick in Thursday’s draft, overtaking Conley as the point guard of the future. With the Grizzlies in a total rebuild, they will be looking to offload Conley’s contract and acquire young pieces. Not many teams can take on that $32 million contract while being able to offer young talent, but the Mavs can.
Now it’s all speculation on what Memphis would want in return for Conley but here’s what Dallas has to offer.
He’s been a fan favorite already after his rookie year but he is someone the Grizzlies would covet for ‘Grit’. With his potential to be a great 6th man in this league for many years and rookie contract, I’d assume he’d have to be part of this deal.
Tim Hardaway Jr.
I can already see eyebrows raising. Why would they trade Conley’s contract just to absorb another inflated one? With Conley gone, you take away his team-high 21 ppg but if you add THJ, you can replace it with his 18 ppg for around 12 million dollars less a year. With Memphis in the bottom half of the league when it comes to bench scoring, Hardaway would provide an instant punch to the 2nd unit.
This will be more difficult because it would require a sign and trade but with Jonas Valanciunas opting out of his contract, the Grizz can use a pick and roll Center to pair with Morant. If Powell does, in fact, opt-in to his last year, it wouldn’t be a steep price to pay for Memphis considering they don’t have a center on their roster as of now.
#37 2019 Draft Pick & Future Second
This would be used to sweeten the deal to help Memphis rebuild the way they want. Without a second round pick this year, the Grizzlies could potentially be interested in Daniel Gafford, Naz Reid, or Bruno Fernando is they happened to slip to bolster their front-court.
What does Conley bring to Dallas?
First and foremost, leadership. Now that Dirk is riding into the sunset, Dallas has instantly turned into one of the youngest teams in the league. To have a floor General to work hand in hand with Luka, he can help relieve the pressure of running Carlisle’s heavy pick and roll/pop offense.
Secondly, Dallas will still have enough cap space to land a starting Center. The Mavs have expressed interest in Plano Prestonwood’s Julius Randle and DeMarcus Cousins last off-season. While Randle would be the better fit, an offer of 4 years for 80 million can land their center for the future.
Third, Conley’s contract would end after the 2021 season, which means that would clear enough money to chase a Max Free Agent that off-season. (Giannis, Beal, McCollum, Drummond, Mitchell, Oladipo)
With most rumors circling around Dallas with Kemba or Patrick Beverly, Conley would provide a nice combination of those two that could assure we have arguably a top 10 point guard before testing the waters and striking out against the rest of them, per usual.
All in all, there are 4 big name point guards that could be had through trade or free agency with more than 4 teams vying for their services. Wouldn’t hurt to grab one before the musical chairs stop.