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How the Mavericks can keep Marquese Chriss

Everything you need to know about how to retain Chriss

Dallas Mavericks v Houston Rockets Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Editor’s note: Updated with the news of the third 10 day hardship signing of Chriss

Marquese Chriss’ 10-Day hardship deal just expired. There are only 3 ways the Mavericks could proceed from here:

  • Let Chriss walk.
  • The Mavericks could sign Chriss to another Hardship 10-Day contract.
  • Create an open roster spot and sign Chriss to a deal

Let’s walk through these options

Let Chriss Walk

Marquese Chriss per game has averaged an efficient 6 points and 4 rebounds in 12 minutes. He is playing real minutes and contributing positively to the team. He is also averaging 3 fouls in those 12 minutes, but as a low minute player it isn’t a big problem. Seeing as he is in the rotation ahead of Moses Brown, Boban Marjanovic, and Willie Cauley-Stein, it seems like roster construction malpractice to not retain the energetic and productive 24 year old. I don’t see this as a likely option.

New Hardship 10-Day

My reading of rules is that Chriss can sign a 3rd Hardship 10-Day contract. The big catch is that Chriss could only play for the Mavericks as long as Porzingis is in Health and Safety Protocols. When Porzingis comes out protocols, Chriss would immediately cease to be available to the Mavs unless another player enters protocols. Porzingis went into protocols Jan 3rd so he could emerge any day now. This certainly isn’t a long-term option and may not even be a short term option. Kristaps Porzingis could emerge before Wednesday’s game.

There are another couple issues with this option. One, other teams aren’t blind and could swoop in to offer Chriss a rest-of-the-season guaranteed contract. There is no doubt Chriss wants a longer than 10-day contract, so if Nico think he is a keeper then he shouldn’t stretch this out any longer. I do not see this option as likely unless another Maverick enters protocols, but even then I think it would be wiser to commit.

I COULD see Nico giving Chriss another Hardship 10-Day if he thinks the Mavericks have a deal that is really close and only needs another day or two.

Create an open roster spot and sign Chriss to a deal

There are 2 ways for the Mavericks to create an open roster spot on the 15 man roster.

  1. Make a trade that returns less players than it sends out. This could be one-for-none like trading Willie Cauley Stein into Oklahoma’s cap space at the cost of a protected 2nd rounder or a two-for-one like Dwight Powell and Willie Cauley-Stein for Goran Dragic. In both of these hypothetical trades the 15 man roster would have a open spot for Marquese Chriss to sign a contract.
  2. Release a player on the 15 man roster. You will notice both hypothetical trades involved Cauley-Stein. This is because he last played for the Mavericks on November 27th. Since then he has been out for personal reasons. While we aren’t privy to those reasons we have seen the Mavericks will move on from players who’s personal reasons keep them from being available. If there is no trade involving Cauley-Stein’s $4.1 million dollar deal then I would guess that he will be released to pave way for Chriss


There will be resolution to this today, January 10th. I believe this because I believe Mavericks want Chriss available Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

I therefore predict at least two transactions will be made known on Twitter.

  1. Trade involving Cauley-Stein that clears a spot OR his release.
  2. Signing Chriss to a guaranteed deal. I’ll even predict the dollar value of the contracts that’s announced. This is actually the maximum they can give him since the minimum contract exception to the salary cap is limited to a max of 2 years. I predict a 2nd year team option just like the Mavs negotiated in the Frank Ntilikina contract.

To see whether I’m right or wrong won’t take long. The Mavericks won’t want Chriss to be on the open market so we should see resolution today.


What I mean by less than 10 days is that when Porzingis comes out of protocols, Chriss could be kept on the 10-Day as inactive, but that would mean he couldn’t play. He could be kept there in case another player enters protocols, but I think that’s unlikely Therefore I project that the Mavericks would open a roster spot and switch Chriss to the 15 man roster if Porzingis comes out of protocols.

This move seems to be in order to create maximum (yes, I’m about to say the dreaded word) flexibility. We’ll see what they do with the flexibility sometime over the next 10 days (or less).