The Dallas Mavericks have to get better this offseason. This is likely the final season for the near future where the Mavericks will have significant cap space. In addition to Luka Doncic signing his extension, Dorian Finney-Smith and Jalen Brunson will likely sign contracts that are quite a bit more expensive than their current paychecks in 2022.
With Luka, it is unlikely the Mavericks will be bad enough to have significant draft capital in any upcoming drafts. With a new brain trust, one would hope the putrid draft track record improves. This is the last best hope to add immediate impact talent.
Richaun Holmes would be impact talent. He would be a massive improvement over any big man the Mavericks currently have other than a healthy Kristaps Porzingis.(if such a thing even exists)
Holmes is a 6’10, 235 pound center who would fit incredibly well with the Mavericks. Holmes signed a two year $9,772,350 contract with the Sacramento Kings following the 2019 season. During the two years, Holmes has blossomed. He averaged 13.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and almost one steal per game while playing 28.8 minutes and shooting 64.1% from the field last season.
He has had minor injuries limiting him to a total of 105 of 144 games. Another injured big man is not what the Mavericks need, but none of his injuries appear to be long term concerns.
Holmes is a very good rim protector. In 2020 he allowed a 55.3 field goal percentage at the rim. This was 5.5 percent worse than would have been expected with average defense. In 2021, his at rim field goal percentage allowed improved to 50.7 percent. This was 11 percent worse than would have been expected with average defense. In short he can protect the guards that constantly get blown by off the dribble.
He is also agile enough to switch and/or hedge and recover. He is not Bam Adebayo. He is not going to make anyone forget he is a big while guarding wings or guards but he is much more switchable than any big the Mavericks currently have besides Maxi Kleber.
He is also fantastic at finishing and midrange shooting. Holmes shot 74.7 percent in the restricted area this season. After watching Willie Cauley-Stein blow dunk after dunk, a big who simply finishes the plays Luka makes for him will be a welcome site.
He is also very good at finishing floaters in the pick and roll when he can’t get all the way to the rim. This skill has proven to be very valuable for a guy like Montrez Harrell when paired with a great pick and roll ball handler. Holmes shot 55.2 percent from 3-to-10 feet this year. He also shot 62.2 percent from 10-to-16 feet on over a quarter of his total field goal attempts. He is also very good at punishing switches with jump hooks from the post.
He has missed 39 games over the last two seasons. The best ability is availability and the Mavericks big man rotation is already fragile enough. He also cannot shoot the three. One of the big improvements in his game came when he essentially quit taking threes. In his second season he went 27-of-77 on threes for a 35.1 percent mark. In the last three seasons he is 2-for-11. Given the Mavericks love of five out lineups this could be a glaring problem.
He improved as a passer this season averaging a career high 1.7 assists per game. But his career high is 1.7 assists per game. He is not a short roll playmaker. He can finish short rolls with floaters and mid range jumpers as mentioned earlier but he is not likely to remind anyone of Draymond Green running 4-on-3s after Luka is trapped.
Fit with the Mavericks
The fit is pretty good on paper as the team really needs a rim protector and a rim roller. The problem is from an asset allocation stand point, investing Holmes would be putting even more money into the center position. The Mavericks have $51,705,725 in cap space tied up in Porzingis, Kleber and Dwight Powell. If Holmes gets near $20 million a year as many predict, that would put the Mavericks above $70 million in big men.
The best way for this deal to make sense then is to unload some of that money in a sign and trade deal for Holmes. There would have to be some other money added (Potentially Buddy Hield?) but a trade for Porzingis could make some sense. A trade where Dwight Powell goes out could also make some sense but what absolutely could not make sense is starting next season with all four players on the roster.
If one of the other big men, especially Powell, could be unloaded, the fit becomes much cleaner. Especially during the regular season, Holmes could and would pair well with either Porzingis or Kleber. Holmes would be an interesting add and provide an incredibly fun pairing with Luka provided the contract doesn’t get too extravagant.