The Dallas Mavericks just drafted Euroleague superstar, Luka Doncic and two-time NCAA champion, Jalen Brunson. This offseason is off to an amazing start and still has a long way to go before being completed. The Mavs have a lot of flexibility heading into free agency, and with all things considered, the staff put on their GM hats to state what Dallas should do next.
Roundtable: Finish the offseason for the Mavericks. Who would you sign in free agency to make this plan come together?
Sam (@SamGuertler): The dream scenario would be poaching Clint Capela from the Houston Rockets. Capela is only 23 years old and averaged 14 points and 11 rebounds for the 65-win Rockets. He would be, quite literally, the perfect complement to Dennis Smith Jr. and Luka Doncic and could grow with them for years to come. At the very least, the Mavs should throw the max and force Houston’s hand. In a less popular opinion, I would try to sign Aaron Gordon from the Orlando Magic. Gordon is a restricted free agent, so the Magic could match, but he’s worth the effort. Gordon, 22, has improved every year in the league and averaged 17.6 points and 8 rebounds while shooting nearly 34 percent from three. The Magic’s front court is CROWDED with a lot of money tied up there. Orlando could decide to build the front court around Mo Bamba and Jonathan Isaac, giving Dallas a golden opportunity at a versatile forward.
Dalton (@dalton_trigg): I agree with Sam that Capela would be the perfect compliment to Smith Jr. and Doncic. He does everything the Mavs want from a center, plus he fits the rebuild timeline better than older guys like Deandre Jordan or Demarcus Cousins. All that said, I think the Mavs would just be wasting 3 days of their cap space being tied up, and potentially missing out on other names if they get Capela to sign an offer sheet, because I believe Houston will match anything.
My new offseason wish-list for the Mavs, now that they’ve added Doncic to the mix (still giddy over that), is to see if they can somehow swap Wes Matthews and Dwight Powell for Deandre Jordan. Yes, Jordan is 30, but he’s still a beast down low that gets you 12 points, 15 rebounds and 2-3 blocks on any given night. If Dallas could pull that off, not only would they have their starting center for next season, but they’d still have cap space to play around with this summer to chase guys like Aaron Gordon, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Marcus Smart, etc. This is all based on the assumption that Jordan will opt in to his last year with the Clippers (he almost certainly will — $24M is a lot of money to leave on the table, especially *this* summer).
There’s still a lot of different ways the Mavs could go, but it’ll be really hard for them to screw this up. Doncic was the real win of this offseason in my eyes. Everything else will just be gravy.
Kirk (@KirkSeriousFace): I’m going to take this in a different direction. Capela is the dream but offering him a max also allows the Rockets days to think about matching, which ties up the Dallas Mavericks cap space. That probably won’t matter, but it’s something I’m fearful of.
I’d prefer if they went the route of Derek Favors. Yes, he doesn’t have the eye popping numbers of a DeAndrea Jordan or Demarcus Cousins, but there’s a lot of value in a guy like Favors who just does his job. I’m a little concerned about his durability, but if the Mavericks can get him on a reasonable deal, it keeps them flexibile for the future. Second, I have an intense desire that the Mavericks bring in Mario Hezonja for a short deal. He gives skeptical Dallas fans a comparison point for Luka and he really strikes me as the kind player who needs the right situation to thrive and Carlisle has a historical knack for getting the most out of talented but floundering players. Plus, I think we owe him for going nuts in the late season Maverick loss to the Magic. Finally, I’d really like it if they made a big offer to Vince Carter. It’s kind of a stupid idea, but I just can’t get past the idea of two of the oldest guys in the league playing together again.
Doyle (@TheKobeBeef): I’ve been saying that the Mavs will go after DeMarcus Cousins since last summer. While I still think they’ll kick the tires, so to speak, on bringing him on board, they might want to set their sights elsewhere. Like everyone else here, I think Clint Capela is a great option for the Mavs. While he couldn’t stay on the floor much in the Western Conference FInals due to the Warriors style of play, he fits in well with what the Mavericks want from a center. He’s a defensive minded rebounder that excels in rim rolling and pick and rolls. That fits Carlisle’s system to a T. Capela is a restricted free agent so Dallas can’t sign him outright. Like Kirk said, that allows the Rockets a three-day grace period to match any offer he receives. That could be worrisome given the frenzy of free agency but with the Rockets needing to re-sign Chris Paul and weigh their other options--like potentially chasing LeBron James. An offer sheet from Dallas could throw a wrench in their plans.
I should say that I fully expect the Rockets match any offer for Capela so the Mavs shouldn’t tie up all their hopes in getting. And frankly, I’m not so worried about who the team signs to fill the hole in the middle. Dallas is adept when it comes to reclamation projects so they could plug in any rim-roller not named Nerlens Noel and make it work. I’d like them to load up on ball handling wings if they can. As Carlisle says, you can never have enough of them.
Just don’t sign DeAndre Jordan.
Ian (@SmitheeMMB): I agree with the general consensus that Clint Capela is the ideal acquisition, but since I expect Houston to match any offer, I will throw my hat into the DeAndre Jordan ring.
I was pretty disinterested in Jordan back when Dallas still had their 2019 pick and looked to be out of the Luka Doncic race, but if the Mavs could trade for Jordan -- provided he opts in for the last year of his current deal -- that seems like a really solid one year trial. The other center options don’t do much for me and I’m very reluctant about the team giving any long-term deal out right now, frankly. Jordan gives you the rim-runner that unlocks Carlisle’s offense and allows Luka Doncic’s vision and Dennis Smith Jr’s speed to operate with space. On defense, he’s still enough of an imposing presence both on the glass and defending the paint to give Dallas a dimension they haven’t had since Tyson Chandler left.
The rest of the roster should be filled out with shooters and wing defenders. Keeping Seth Curry and Doug McDermott would be strong in-house options.