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ESPN analyst incorrectly says Mavericks have no players on roster from Luka Doncic’s rookie year

There are four of them, actually.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to Wednesday’s game where the Dallas Mavericks hosted the Atlanta Hawks, ESPN’s pregame coverage featured a fair amount of coverage dedicated to Dallas and building around Luka Doncic. Adrian Wojnarowski discussed trade possibilities with the team and former Nets executive Bobby Marks had a segment about building around Luka Doncic. While Woj mentioned the nightmare scenario of Dallas trading a first round pick for Bojan Bogdanovic and Nerlens Noel, the Marks segment was wrong on the basics.

Did you watch the clip? Did anything immediately catch your attention? What about this little blurb?

Dwight Powell, Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, and Tim Hardaway were all on the Mavericks in 2019. Hardaway’s been on the team since the Kristaps Porzingis trade with the Knicks. Dwight Powell has been a Maverick since the Mavericks traded for Rajon Rondo during the 2014-15 season. Maxi Kleber’s been on the team since he signed during the 2017 off-season. Dorian Finney-Smith was an undrafted free agent signing in the summer of 2016.

He’s also wildly incorrect about cap space. Dallas had it in 2019 and the could’ve signed players into that space that were free agents and also re-signed Porzingis, Kleber, and Finney-Smith using Bird Rights to legally go over the salary cap. These are embarrassing errors.

More than that, the errors undercut the entire point of Marks’ segment, which is that building around a superstar is hard. But the point we’ve been making here at Mavs Moneyball since the summer of 2019 is that while we understand it’s hard, it’s not near as hard as actually getting the superstar talent.

Time and again we’ve criticized the Dallas issues with team building and by and large, the national conversation has slowly caught up to where we’ve been for most of Luka’s tenure with the Mavericks. While this was just an oversight by Marks in a 90 second segment of television, it’s the kind of factual cockup that makes no sense in any context. The aforementioned players have been with the team for a long time! Dwight Powell’s been with Dallas so long he’s ready to crack the Dallas top 10 list for games played all time!

That all four of these players are still with the team is really wild in the context of how player movement and short contracts in the modern NBA. It speaks to how valued all four are despite not being top 100 players. Each fits with Dallas and has a role though I think it’s understandable if you believe Dallas has gotten the most possible out of these players.

At any rate, this was just such a weird mistake I felt moved to write about it when it was brought to my attention. With the trade deadline around the corner it wouldn’t be shocking if it were the final days in a Maverick uniform for any of Dorian, Dwight, Tim, or Maxi.