It’s almost hard to believe. The NBA regular season is right around the corner. While this has been the shortest offseason for the Dallas Mavericks since 2011, it feels like ages since they made their unlikely run to the Western Conference Finals.
Before Dallas opens the season on the road against the Phoenix Suns on October 19, it’s time to look back at the offseason. To put it mildly, it was tumultuous. Here’s how the Mavericks got to where they are now.
Dallas’ opening salvo officially came on June 24 when the team acquired Christian Wood in a trade with the Houston Rockets in exchange for Sterling Brown, Trey Burke, Marquese Chriss, Boban Marjanovic and a second-round pick that would become Wendell Moore Jr.
Clearing out the end of the bench for a player that many have said has exciting potential throughout his six seasons seems like a win for the Mavericks. They needed to add some size and rebounding. Wood checks those boxes if he’s being attentive.
The biggest potential boost he may provide is on offense as a stretch forward who shot 39 percent on three pointers last season. Just don’t expect him to be Tyson Chandler on defense.
The same day that the Wood trade became final, the Mavericks traded into the 2022 NBA Draft to select Jaden Hardy with the No. 37 overall pick, which they acquired from the Sacramento Kings for second-round picks in 2024 and 2028.
Hindsight is 20-20, and Dallas moving into the draft to get Hardy looks increasingly like insurance to cover the forthcoming departure of Jalen Brunson (more on that below). Hardy was a high school standout who made the leap to the G League, foregoing college. While still raw, he’s shown a lot of upsides.
Every camera focused on Hardy during Summer League. He didn’t disappoint in his debut, scoring 28 points. Although he was unable to replicate that outburst during his time in Las Vegas, he showed the ability to drive, dish, and score at three levels. He’s promising, albeit rough around the edges.
Unquestionably, the biggest move of the offseason—or lack thereof—was the departure of Jalen Brunson to the New York Knicks. The Mavericks had the opportunity to extend him during the regular season. They didn’t. They could have offered him more money than the Knicks. Again, they didn’t.
There’s no point in rehashing all the details of Brunson’s defection in this space—there are a lot. Dallas’ inability to keep their second-best ball handler, who carried the team in Luka Doncic’s absence during the first-round of the playoffs against the favored Utah Jazz is a blight on the front office.
In the wake of losing a starter who can run the offense and create for himself off the dribble, the Mavericks added center JaVale McGee. While McGee may best be known for all his appearances on “Shaqtin’ A Fool,” he has the championship hardware that so many players covet.
McGee will turn 35 this season and expects to start. Given head coach Jason Kidd’s familiarity with him from their time together with the Los Angeles Lakers, a starting spot is guaranteed, at least to start the season. Here’s hoping those old legs can still run and jump to catch lobs.
Dallas also added the most hated man in the NBA. The Mavericks promoted Theo Pinson from a two-way contract to a full one. Just recently, the league issued new rules for sideline decorum during games. Pinson was the front man for the raucous cheering from the bench all last season. He helped the Mavericks earn three fines during the playoffs for actively supporting one another.
Coming in from Greece, Dallas also landed Tyler Dorsey. The former Oregon standout has been playing overseas since 2019. He’s on a two-way contract and will spend time with both the Mavericks and the Texas Legends in the G League.
To fill out their training camp roster, the Mavericks brought in McKinley Wright IV, Tyler Hall, and D.J. Stewart Jr., along with forwards Mouhamadou Gueye and Marcus Bingham Jr. They’ll be fighting for a two-way contract.
It’s been a long, arduous road from the Western Conference Finals to the cusp of the 2022-23 regular season. The Mavericks are far from the team they were, despite having many of the same players still on the roster.
It will be hard for this year’s team to replicate the success of last season. They may not even come close given the moves the front office made over the last few months. But a new season brings new possibilities. And most importantly, they still have Luka Doncic.