The Dallas Mavericks are armed with plenty of ammunition and allure making them key players in free agency this summer so let’s look at some names…
If Billy Beane- the man behind “Moneyball” and the analytical revolution in baseball- were to evaluate the past endeavors of the Dallas Mavericks in free agency, he would have said: “There are good NBA teams in free agency, and there are bad NBA teams in free agency. Then, there is 50 feet of crap. And then there is the Dallas Mavericks.”
Sure Billy Beane did not actually say this, but the quote above truly reflects the sentiments MFFL have been feeling every summer as free agency approaches. The Dallas Mavericks have had a troubled past in retaining their current players- let alone acquiring new star and quality role players.
In 2004, we witnessed Hall of Famer Steve Nash walk in free agency and win two consecutive MVP awards along the way. After winning our first NBA championship in 2011, the Mavericks’ front office failed to retain Tyson Chandler (the centerpiece- no pun intended- of both our rebounding and defense) the following free agency period and he went on to win the 2012 Defensive Player of the Year. Oh, and who can forget the DeAndre Jordan debacle in the summer of 2015.
But a new era has dawned in Dallas and we should all be excited! In this year’s free agency period, the Mavericks are projected to have upwards of $52 million in cap space (including the initial cap at $40 million and the expectations of waiving and stretching Courtney Lee’s contract and a few other cap holds).
In acquiring both of these premier European talents, the Dallas Mavericks had to give up their 2019 first-round pick to the Atlanta Hawks for Luka and both their unprotected 2021 and 2023 top-10 protected first-round picks to the New York Knicks for Porzingis.
Failure to be a perennial NBA playoff team in the near future could spell disaster for the Mavericks (and ideal for the Knicks), drawing reminders to the Brooklyn Nets loosely trading three first-round picks to the Boston Celtics in 2013 in what has been dubbed as “the Worst Trade in NBA History.”
In turning from a lottery team to a perpetual playoff contender, the Dallas Mavericks must make roster changes and free agent acquisitions to address our shooting inefficiencies, high turnover rate, low turnover creation rate, and low rebounding percentage.
This means that the Mavericks not only need to keep key role players like Dorian Finney-Smith, Dwight Powell, and Maxi Kleber, but the Mavs also need to invest in further ball-handling guards and perimeter/wing defenders who are all knockdown shooters because- put mildly- the Mavericks were just god-awful at shooting the basketball last season.
The Mavs attempted three-pointers at the highest rate last year (only behind the Houston Rockets and their “Moreyball” strategies) and attempted the fourth-most three-pointers and fifth-most free throws while converting three-pointers at the third-worst clip (34%) and free-throws at the sixth-worst rate (74.2%).
Ahead, we will go through the big-named free agents and bargain players the Mavericks should target this free agency period to address the deficiencies in defense, rebounding, and shooting (in no particular order).