According to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Mavericks are approaching the off-season with an intense sense of urgency. “No one is churning harder than Mavericks president and general manager Donnie Nelson,” Townsaid said in his report. This is in contrast to a report earlier this month from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst that the Mavericks could potentially have a quiet off-season as they keep their cap room open for two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2021.
In a concise but information-packed post, sources tell Townsend that the Mavericks are working hard to acquire a third star in Dallas, that every roster member aside from Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis is on the trade block, and that the Mavericks have interest in moving up in next month’s NBA Draft.
Multiple members of the Mavs Moneyball staff have espoused the position that Dallas should be willing to trade anyone but Doncic to improve the roster, but it’s somewhat surprising to see this validated by The Dallas Morning News. What’s not surprising is the sense of urgency Donnie Nelson is reportedly attacking the off-season with. Nelson seems to thrive in chaos and this truncated off-season should prove unpredictable with so many unknowns circling the NBA. Let’s not forget that when the Mavericks returned to the playofs in 2014 after a down year in 2013, Nelson said in exit interviews that he liked the team and wanted to see them grow. That summer he replaced three of the Mavericks five starters. Say what you want about the Dallas front office, but they are not complacent.
Townsend described the various superstar duos resulting in “an arms race to become the first three-star Western Conference team, or at least the closest thing to one.” The Mavericks are uniquely positioned with one part of their duo being on the cheapest contract he’ll ever earn in the NBA while also being at an MVP level. There’s a real onus on the Mavericks to improve, but the old adage “be quick but don’t hurry” comes to mind.
The most fascinating aspect of the report, though, is the previously unreported notion that the Mavericks are interested in moving into the lottery. Whether that’s for a specific player for Dallas or someone they believe could be part of a larger deal is anyone’s guess, but other NBA executives should be worried about getting out-positioned by Nelson. After all, this is the same guy who traded for both Dirk Nowitzki and Luka Doncic on draft night.
Lastly, while detailing out some potential avenues of improvement for Dallas, Townsend notes an assumed but previously unconfirmed report that the Mavericks were very close to acquiring Danilo Gallinari before the trade deadline in February. Gallinari is a free agent this off-season.
The bottom line in all of this is to expect the unexpected in the coming weeks. The oft-discussed and reasonable idea that running it back while hoping for better health in 2020-21 seems to be a non-starter for the Dallas Mavericks.