Many are aware that when it came to anything Lauri Markkanen-related this past offseason, I had lots to say. I was all for him coming to Dallas; I thought he’d make Kristaps Porzingis’ life easier, and that Luka Doncic would help elevate him as a player. According to sources, the Mavericks had real discussions with Markkanen, but were unable to secure a deal as Chicago wasn’t willing to take on money past this season and other teams offered more assets Dallas didn’t possess.
Markkanen was very interested in Dallas
It had been mentioned many times that Markkanen had interest in playing with Luka, but that had never been confirmed. After my conversation, I learned that he was very interested in coming to Dallas, but that for the aforementioned reasons, Dallas wasn’t going to happen. Now former Maverick JJ Redick said on the Old Man and the Three podcast that there was a potential trade involving one more contract for him where he could’ve made around $16 million (Markkanen’s first year with Cleveland is worth this much). I learned that the Chicago Bulls did in fact make it clear that they had no interest in taking on future salary and that was why Dallas’ offer was a no-go.
The Mavericks front office tried to make a deal
Dallas’ front office did push hard to land Markkanen. They made him a solid offer that he was satisfied with, but as he was a restricted free agent, he wasn’t the only party involved that needed to be satisfied. The offer from Cleveland was unbeatable when it came down to the involvement of a three-team trade that landed Chicago an expiring contract plus a first and second-round draft pick.
Markkanen received a significant role and is performing well in Cleveland, averaging 14.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1 steal. It was a win-win for everyone involved that Dallas couldn’t compete with. That being said, Markkanen is still only 24 years old and the relationship with the Dallas front office is established. Should he become available down the line, I have to imagine Dallas would be a part of the conversation.
Moral of the story, the Dallas front office is trying to make things happen, despite what a lot of Mavs fanbase thinks. Markkanen is a perfect example of a situation where a young guy who needs a change of scenery is worth pushing hard for. It’s good to know the Mavs saw the value that I did. In the future, hopefully they can get a deal done that helps take this team to the next level.