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Mavs Money Mailbag: Team building is hard

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We should be watching actual basketball in a non-Covid-19 world

Dallas Mavericks v Chicago Bulls Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Hello, how is everyone? Well, with things heating up in the NBA off season we now have some things to think about beyond the draft. With that mind, I took to social media to ask for some questions and here’s what you all asked. As always, hit me up in email, twitter, or comments here and I’ll do my best to circle back to them.

How long would expect it to take to develop a 3&D wing from pick 18 to crunch time player? via Pras Francis, MD PhD (@PrasFrancis on Twitter)

If any of the wings available in the draft actually fall to 18 where Dallas picks, I’d say it depends on how much Dallas makes that player a part of the rotation. Rick Carlisle has a reputation of not loving rookies but the fact is, since the 2011 championship he’s not had a choice in a number of years.

That said, think back to 2003. Josh Howard and Marquis Daniels earned time as rookies on a loaded team. Crunchtime playing time is hard to predict but the Mavericks want to win now and if a rookie helps them do that, by playoff time, we may see just that depending on who the pick is (please be Desmond Bane).

What players are in this “3rd star” tier that are obtainable? via Eddy Bell (@EddyBell77 on twitter)

So Seth Partnow of the Athletic did a fascinating tiers piece last week I really recommend. If you get to the third tier, which he splits into A/B/C sub-rankings, you see guys like Bradley Beal, Jrue Holiday, Donovan Mitchel, Klay Thompson, Kristaps Porzingis, and more. He’s pretty tough on his tiers but I want to build out this to explain my answer more. There are a lot of guys in tier three.

Of the guys that are really good and potentially available, I think Jrue Holiday is the most likely person to get moved. That said, the Mavericks just don’t have assets. Giving up first rounders for Porzingis was worth it, but it limits them as the Mavericks can only trade their first round pick in 2025 and 2027. That is wild to write down. And while everyone knows how I feel about the roster quality now, I don’t think those players are good enough to net a top notch talent. But weirder things have happened. Heck, Dallas turned Dennis Smith into KP.

With next offseason being the last before Luka is taking up max contract space, and with two more 1sts owed to the Knicks, what is the most reasonable path to adding a championship level cast with the resources available? via Billy Sierra (@BillySierra16 on twitter)

This is more or less why Donnie Nelson gets paid the big bucks. One thing I’ve read twice now is that the Mavericks are willing to take on big salary. Does that mean an expensive, but fading player who might be willing to be a third wheel? Is there a disgruntled guy (think Buddy Hield) who wants to be elsewhere?

My extremely hot take is that Luka Doncic should be the only Maverick not on the table. Kristaps Porzingis has a ton of talent but he’s also an injury liability. That’s not meant as a slight. He’s not ever finished a NBA season healthy, ever. So potentially moving him has to be on the table, though I think that’s unlikely.

Otherwise the cast has to be about fit more than anything else. The offense can elevate certain kinds of players, particularly those who don’t need the ball to get going. There’s a lot of paths and I trust the front office to do well.

Any interest in Jae Crowder or Ibaka? via JJMillz (@JeffMillsAtx on Twitter)

Yes and yes. I do think Crowder gets a massive offer just due to the scarcity of wings on the market. Ibaka is someone I have coveted on and off since Dirk took his soul in 2011. At one point he looked washed but he’s really settled into a nice role. Despite how many big men Dallas has right now, he’d find minutes and be a solid veteran to the locker room. Plus his youtube show rules.

If you couldn’t stay at 18, would you rather move up and go all in on this draft, or fall back and try to recoup some draft capital for future drafts? via Zeby (@Zebreezy on Twitter)

Bring me all the future assets.

I hate trading back. Dallas did it so many times in the 2000’s; it was a mess. But Dallas needs something for the future and if Dallas perceives some kind of value later in the draft and could get a future pick? Sign me all the way up. The 2021 draft has a lot of guys who’d go high in this year’s draft right now.

How long before the mavericks go through an entire redesign? via Patrick Stumpf (@StumpfWorld on Twitter)

This is likely in response to the story about the new City uniforms. I have some feelings on the Dallas design and such but since I’m not a designer or anything like that I’ll just say this: in any sort of marketing situation, the sheer volume of steps between design presentation and rollout is wild. When you pair that as a concept with the fact that what we’re talking about here is a professional sports team with an owner who is hands-on, and... there are many chances for things to get weird. We’ve seen that a lot. Anyway, here’s as good of a response to all this as anything:

Is it Mavericks title or bust in the next (3-4-5) years? via LSK (@Kenny_817 on Twitter)

I actually talked about this on our podcast the other day but I wanted to talk about it again.

Basically, consider Luka Doncic like a NFL quarterback on a rookie contract. In the NFL, if a team finds the guy then they tend to go all out while that rookie is on a pay scale which doesn’t take up much of the salary cap. Once NFL quarterbacks get their extension, it becomes more difficult to team build because they take up such a large part of the salary cap.

In the NBA it’s less harsh because the rookie extensions aren’t as steep (pay scale at the NBA is determined by years of service) but with Luka Doncic making the All-NBA team, the Rose Rule comes into effect so he’ll be making a lot more money than say, what Brandon Ingram’s about to make. The Mavericks have a certain window with which they need to try to push through just because they have less options after Luka’s rookie extension kicks in.

So to answer Kenny, I think they have the next 4 seasons to make solid progress. I don’t think it’s title or bust but they have to make the conference finals, show Doncic that they are surrounding him with the right guys at the right time. He’s simply never not won, ever. He expects to win and while a great deal of that rests on his shoulders, the organization should do all it can to give the team a chance to win a NBA title.


Please ask me more questions. Leave them in the comments. Tweet me. Email me. Whatever works. Go Mavs.