The Mavericks are in a good place.
This is something I have to say to myself, as a mantra, when witnessing all the moves occurring now that the NBA transaction window is open and things are happening in what should go down as the most action packed off-season week in NBA history.
In case you missed it, the Bucks went all in, trading for Jrue Holiday and Bogdan Bogdanovic, which means Giannis Antetokounmpo has certainly agreed to sign the super-max extension. Robert Covington also got moved to the Blazers, which followed up the Monday mid day trade of Chris Paul to the Suns.
So, standing on the sidelines, for now at least, is gut wrenching.
But the simple fact is, the Mavericks have made many of their available moves already. In 2018, they used a future pick to trade up and select Luka Doncic. In early 2019, they sent away Dennis Smith Jr. and two more first round picks for the right to re-sign Kristaps Porzingis. So, three future first round picks and a former first round pick in Dennis Smith to end up with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Remember, we could be staring at Smith and Wendell Carter Jr.
All in all, those are trades they’d make any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
However, it’s important to note that the Mavericks also stood by last off-season, reportedly caught off guard at the speed in which things moved. The end result was a fine free agency, one where they didn’t use any of the artificial cap space afforded to them by having the Bird Rights of Porzingis, Maxi Kleber, and Dorian Finney-Smith. Dallas could have signed more expensive free agents and gone over the salary cap to sign these players — they didn’t.
Dallas has not gone into the luxury tax since the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement came into effect. That’s something that must change for the Mavericks as they build toward contention. Dallas owner Mark Cuban’s willingness to spend was a key aspect of their success in the 2000’s.
The Mavericks are a closed loop of an organization and that’s largely for the best. We have no idea what options were or are considered and only rarely hear about potential deals, usually well after the fact. Dallas won each of its last two trades in a massive way, setting up the expectation that each deal could be a home run.
Dallas has limited options now and that’s been the case as much as I’ve ignored it, pining for a big free agent deal this off season. There’s still the potential for something resembling a swing of course, like making a move for Victor Oladipo, but any such move is layered with a fair amount of risk.
We want the Mavericks to be a title contending team now, the Mavericks obviously want the same thing. Luka Doncic exists, so it’s in the range of possible outcomes. They just may not have the means to shake things up on their roster right now because they’ve already made so many moves to even get to this point. That’s not only okay, it’s awesome.
Take a deep breath, exhale slowly, then repeat after me. The Mavericks are in a good place.