As free agency got underway Sunday afternoon, the Dallas Mavericks did exactly what they were expected to do. Within minutes, reports indicated that the organization reached agreements with former All-Star and restricted free agent Kristaps Porzingis. Then, the team offered an extension to Dwight Powell, which he accepted. The deals are for five years, $158 million and three years, $33 million, respectively. After that, the team went virtually silent.
Porzingis and Powell were the Mavericks’ primary targets to ink to long-term deals this summer. However, the lack of activity since then caused many fans some degree of stress, based on their over-the-top reactions online. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise, though.
As free agency drew near, a number of prime free agent targets were linked to Dallas. Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton, Al Horford, and Patrick Beverley’s names made the rounds as possible top targets for the Mavericks. This whet the appetites of plenty of fans. So on Sunday, as teams snapped up free agents at a frenzied rate, keeping phone notifications buzzing and screens needing continual refreshing, it was understandable to assume the Mavericks were on the phones working out deals.
Instead, the Mavs stood pat. Apparently, the team took Porzingis out to dinner (Nick & Sam’s, maybe?) after reaching their agreement. While a necessary gesture, the timing couldn’t have been worse. The front office expected the opening hours of free agency to be slow. Docile even. They were wrong and it cost them.
One by one, free agents ticked off the board. Walker headed Boston. Middleton re-signed in Milwaukee. Horford went Philly. Beverley chose to remain in L.A. It was a perfect storm of frenetic player movement punctuated by the Mavericks’ inaction. Then, late in the evening, a glimmer. Dallas was showing some life.
Reports surfaced that Goran Dragic was heading to Dallas as the Miami Heat looked to shed excess salary after acquiring Jimmy Butler in a sign and trade with the 76ers earlier that day. Within an hour or so of the first reports, though, the deal was dead.
The Mavs weren’t interested in taking on Dragic’s $19.2 million for next season. It would hurt their financial flexibility this summer. In its place, a deal formed that would send Kelly Olynyk and Derrick Jones Jr. to Dallas, which could absorb them into its remaining cap space. However, Miami was still short $1.7 million in cap space and reportedly didn’t want to give up Jones. Right now, the deal appears all but dead.
Monday brought with it some good news. The team reached a four-year, $32 million deal reuniting them with Seth Curry, whose shooting will certainly help the team. Dallas also reached terms to bring back Maxi Kleber and J.J. Barea, which many expected to happen.
This is who the Mavericks are. They signed their two primary free agent targets and then sat on the sidelines until almost every potential primary target was snapped up elsewhere. There are still players left on in the market that can help Dallas, like Curry. Undoubtedly, more will be agreeing to terms with Dallas in the coming hours and days.
However, the Mavs had the chance to do something “sexy” in free agency and they did not. Instead, they sat on their hands and watched the NBA change around them. It’s the same story we see unfold seemingly every July from this team. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. This is how the Mavericks do free agency. We shouldn’t expect anything more.