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Roundtable: Free agency wheeling and dealing

Late night moves and early morning reactions

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Late night trade! Holy cow! What’s your reaction?

Jordan - Bleary-eyed and half asleep I was trying to wrap my brain around the chaos of Twitter late last night. My immediate gut reaction was focused mainly on Donnie Nelson’s ability to move both Wright and Jackson and still get a player in return — even if the player is on the tail end of his career.

The Mavericks needed guys willing to be physical last season. The Clippers tried, and barely succeeded, roughing up and baiting a passive Mavs teams in the playoffs. Now they have a collection of defenders and players who can mix things up. Also legitimate wings! That’s important.

I would be lying though if I didn’t admit to my fear of all this cap space next summer jangling in my ears. We’re soooo far out. But I hope the Mavericks are smart in how they handle this cap space and don’t just aim for the highest suitor, while all the attainable pieces get signed.

But today, we celebrate!

Doyle - I woke up to the news of the Mavericks trading both Delon Wright and Justin Jackson to the Detroit Pistons and Oklahoma City Thunder, respectively, for James Johns. I sleep while Stein reports and Woj bombs. It’s a fair trade off.

Johnson isn’t coming to Dallas because he’s an electric scorer. The Mavericks signed him as a sort of enforcer that can come off the bench and give the team a degree of toughness that it didn’t have previously. Therefore it’s a great move.

There was a lot of chatter among media pundits, especially former players, that the Mavericks lacked the gritty phyicallity needed to advance in the playoffs. They pointed to the antics of some of the Los Angeles Clippers players to get under the skin of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Former players usually aren’t reliable sources for insight, but they were dead on in this instance.

So, now there’s Johnson and all it cost Dallas was two players who continued to move further back in the rotation. It’s a shame that Wright never found his footing in Dallas. His savagery against them as a member of the Memphis Grizzlies is part of why Dallas was high on him to begin with. But if you’re a reluctant shooter and dribble yourself into trouble with regularity, it’s time to part ways.

As for Jackson, I wonder if Rick Carlisle is going to miss him. After all, Carlisle did say, “His floater game is really one of the best maybe I’ve ever seen in 35 years in this league.”

Ryan - Acquiring James Johnson is not a sexy move. The Mavericks won’t put up billboards up for him on I-35, he won’t have a bobblehead night and I’m not even really sure how much he’ll play on this team. But what the Mavericks did last night was show that they’re done f—-ing around and are ready to advance their championship timeline.

Moving on from Delon Wright and Justin Jackson should’ve been at the top of the checklist this offseason. Regardless of what people on Twitter were saying, you wouldn’t have been able to trade them for Zach Lavine or something ridiculous. Watching a game of basketball instead of exclusively playing MyGM on 2K would’ve proved that.

The Mavericks pulled the trigger on what they felt was the best offer. They got a guy who can fill a variety of roles, is on an expiring contract which gives the Mavericks cap space next offseason, and most importantly, will knock Marcus Morris out the next time he tries to mess with Luka Doncic.

Kirk - I’m just delighted in the scope and execution of the plan from the Dallas Mavericks. When we factor in both the draft and free agency, it’s so clear they are building a team for this specific weird season ahead and one for the future. Stability and flexibility while managing to improve just about every team need.

There’s still room for more changes too. This is art.

Sam - Inevitable that Wright would be moved soon, early yesterday I became apprehensive the Mavericks would salary dump him. It’s a contrarian take, but I didn’t feel great about the Mavericks potentially attaching picks or getting nothing in return for a good player, even if it was clear the partnership didn’t work out. I was beginning to think the Mavericks should maybe try again and see if his value could resurface.

However, if the Mavericks were a bucket of water with multiple holes leaking, last night was another move to patch up the leaks. The team clearly lacked the mental fortitude and grit to play chippy and engage in mind games with the Clippers in the playoffs, so acquiring James Johnson is a perfect way to fill that void. Who knows what he’ll contribute in the box score, but that would all be a bonus in my mind. The Mavericks needed a guy to junk things up and go to bat for their superstars with the junkyard, chip-on-your-shoulder type mentality, and it appears that’s what the team has with Johnson. His $16 million expiring cap hit also gives the team flexibility moving forward. This was a solid, opportunistic move.

Oh yeah, Justin Jackson is gone, too.