According to multiple articles, one on Heavy.com and one on BleacherReport.com, the Mavericks were cited as a possible landing spot should 4-time champion Draymond Green leave Golden State in 2023. Green has been a crucial part of the Warriors dynasty for a decade and has anchored their defense during their dominant run.
The primary reason cited for Green’s interest in Dallas is his intrigue in playing with Luka Doncic. An executive told Sean Deveney of Heavy.com, “He would love to play with a superstar like Luka where he has to just play off him.” Green has been vocal about his respect for Doncic, going as far back as 2018, when he said Doncic was “already a problem” at 19 years old:
"He got it, he's gonna be a problem... he's already a problem."— NBA (@NBA) May 20, 2022
Back in 2018, Draymond Green could see how talented Luka Doncic was at just 19 years old.
GAME 2 - Tonight at 9:00pm/et on TNT pic.twitter.com/lL8n6xj4md
On the court, Doncic and Green would be an excellent pairing. Green sets excellent screens, has great vision, understands the game at the highest level, and defends as well as anyone ever has. Pairing his ability to create for his teammates in many ways with Doncic’s ability to manipulate the game however he pleases would make for an unstoppable force. Despite this, there remains one dark cloud over a potential team-up in Dallas: Green’s age.
At 32 years old, Green still possesses most of the value he did five years ago, and thus has one last big pay day looming as his career takes a turn for the home stretch. He has made it known that he wants a max contract when he has the option to become a free agent next summer, which means there will be big decisions to make for his incumbent team, as well as potential suitors. Specifically, should you pay Green over $30 million per year until he is 36 or 37 years old? For Dallas, the answer should be yes.
Green has career averages of 8.7 points , 5.4 assists and 6.9 rebounds. He has never been a dynamic scorer, has never played above the rim, and has certainly never had a quick first step. His game is not predicated on athleticism, which will translate well as he gets older. his greatness doesn’t come from the box score, but rather the little things he does that contribute to winning. Because of this, there is no reason to believe he cannot keep up his current productivity for at least the next four years, which means he would be a near All-star level player under contract in Dallas.
He would immediately catapult the Mavericks already-stout defense into an elite tier, and would transform their offense in ways no other player could. While Green is not a creator in the traditional sense, he does create a vast number of opportunities for his teammates through more unique channels like weak-side screening and dribble hand-off actions. His contract would come during Doncic’s mid-20’s, where most players experience the best years of their prime. Putting a prime Luka Doncic alongside Green would give them the championship expertise, defensive variability, and offensive toolbox to make Dallas a perennial title favorite.
As previously mentioned, the only point of caution would be Green’s age. Paying an aging star is almost never good, but it is worth it in this case for two reasons. The first is that the salary cap is going up. $30+ million a year may seem like a lot, but if they lock him in before the cap increases even more than it will next year, it could be less of a hit than it seems. Secondly, there will be cap space clearing up in two years, and they have to pay somebody. Dallas’ track record with big name free agents is not good, and if you can get a Hall-of-Famer for the last productive years of his career, you do it. Waiting around for another year to try and sign someone who could very likely end up elsewhere would be foolish, as it has been in the past. If Green wants to play with Doncic, the Mavericks should give him the money to make it happen.