There are many theories, plans, and suggestions out there surrounding what Dallas should do this offseason. Let’s breakdown into four parts what the strategy should be for this offseason. First, there’s the the current roster. Then let’s consider free agency and the draft. Lastly, there’s the trade market and some of the options Dallas has.
Dallas can add without taking away
We can all agree that the roster needs to be improved in order to be in the conversation of title contention. There are so many questions surrounding some of the current players and what their roles will be moving forward, but there’s no need to start from the ground up.
The Mavs are not in a position to where they have to move Kristaps Porzingis. With a healthy offseason, a new coach, and potentially a different starting lineup, things could look different next season. He could get different looks that allow him to get into a rhythm and be the complimentary offensive weapon everyone (including Porzingis himself) wants him to be.
Last season, Porzingis averaged 20 points, 9 rebounds, and 1 block on 16 shots a game (for reference, Luka shot 20 shots a game) while shooting 37.6 percent from three and booking a career high 54.7 percent in effective field goal percentage. Adding a player to the roster that could change how Dallas’ offense or defense operates, could significantly change things for KP.
Josh Richardson has his player option this summer. If he decides to stick around, he’s another guy who could be used differently under Jason Kidd. Kidd likes to play with pace, expecting Richardson to have the ball in his hands more where he will have the opportunity to create might make it easier for him to get into a shooting rhythm. As a guy who’s been a starter his whole career, a return to the lineup or even leading the second unit could give him a new purpose. Between COVID, battling injuries, and having his role significantly changed, there’s an argument as to why last season may not be a true representation of who Richardson is as a player.
Without any draft picks at the moment, the most important thing on the Mavericks’ calendar is free agency. Dallas expects to sign a starter in free agency with the amount of cap space they currently have.
Reasonably attainable targets that would immediately be inserted into the starting lineup include Demar Derozan, Mike Conley, Richaun Holmes, John Collins, Jarrett Allen, Lonzo Ball, Spencer Dinwiddie, Norman Powell, Otto Porter Jr., Goran Dragic, and Nerlens Noel.
Each of these players would change Dallas’ offensive and/or defensive strategy. Derozan, Conley, Collins, Allen, Ball, Dinwiddie, Powell, Porter. Jr, and Dragic all give the Mavs another offensive weapon to take some of the load off Luka, provide him an additional lob target, and would open things up for Porzingis. Forcing defenders to have to choose who to guard will make Dallas incredibly difficult to stop offensively.
Any of these guys would be great for Porzingis as Dallas would be able to get by while continuing to load manage him and preserve his health while also not requiring him to combine with Doncic for 60 points each night in the playoffs. Holmes and Allen would take a significant load off of Porzingis defensively by allowing him to be a rim protector without having to put his body at risk when guarding elite opposing bigs. Any of these signings would be thrilling.
Other targets that are more affordable and would complement this current roster include Josh Hart, Tony Bradley, Torrey Craig, Will Barton, Doug McDermott, Lauri Markkanen, Alec Burks, Reggie Bullock, Mo Harkless, Bismack Biyombo, Wayne Ellington, Austin Rivers, Langston Galloway, Harry Giles, and Willy Hernangomez.
While Dallas doesn’t currently have any draft picks, I would love to see them buy into the second round. However, I am not interested in giving up any players in order to do so. If the Mavs can jump in with cash considerations or even a future pick, that’s a more preferable route.
Picks 40 to 60 is where Dallas should strike with players like Miles McBride, JT Thor, Vrenz Bleijenbergh, Kessler Edwards, Isaiah Livers, Matthew Hurt, Isaiah Todd, Aaron Henry, Austin Reaves, and Jericho Sims. This is also a great draft to potentially find gems in a sea of undrafted guys, so it will be interesting to see who Dallas snags for Summer League.
With the current roster, there are a few things that Dallas could look into. Moving Dwight Powell could create an extra $11 million for Dallas as they head into free agency. The only way this happens is if they have a solid inclination that they could sign two starters.
Hypothetically, if Dallas moves off Powell, declines Willie Cauley-Stein’s team option, Richardson opts out, and Tim walks, the Mavericks would have $51 million in cap space. Dorian Finney-Smith and Jalen Brunson are also two names Mavericks fans consider potential sell high options. I don’t have interest in trading either of them unless a deal comes Dallas’ way that’s too good to turn down. They’re both going to be due for a pay raise, but considering the value they provide at their current salaries, keeping them on the roster and using the rest of the cap room to add as much talent as possible is a better option.
Realistic trade targets that Dallas could investigate include CJ McCollum, Buddy Hield, Tristan Thompson, Robert Covington, Gary Harris, Ricky Rubio, Steven Adams, Danilo Gallinari, Kelley Oubre, Al-Farouq Aminu, Larry Nance Jr., and more.
It will be a busy offseason for Dallas, but they have lots of options every step of the way, so hold on to your hats.