The short-term goal for the Mavericks this season is to make the playoffs, this is what Coach Carlisle and the players have said since training camp. The long-term goal, however, is to build a dynasty with yearly title expectations that’s built around Luka Doncic and Dennis Smith Jr. The Mavericks went all-in on Luka Doncic this summer by trading our 2018 #5 overall pick and next year’s 1st round pick to the Atlanta Hawks. By giving up our first round pick the Mavericks best chance to jump from playoff contender to title contender is through free agency this summer.
The Mavericks only have 7 players under contract next season, 2 of which are the player-options of Harrison Barnes for $25.1 M and Dwight Powell for $10.3 M. Assuming both players opt in (which we can discuss the likelihood of that later) the Mavericks will have $51.8 M of contracts on the books for 2019 for players with an average age of 24.3. If you exclude Ryan Broekhoff at age 28, the oldest player of those under contract for 2019-2020 is Dwight Powell who, believe it or not, is actually older than Harrison Barnes.
This would give the Mavericks an estimated cap space of $57.2 M in summer of 2019 to build around an incredibly talented young core of players including Harrison Barnes, Luka Doncic, Dennis Smith Jr, and Jalen Brunson. Another cherry on top is that the Mavericks own restricted free agency rights over Dorian Finney-Smith and Maxi Kleber, who are 25 and 26 respectively, and have proven to be very effective parts of the rotation this year.
Dallas project to have the third most cap space in the NBA in 2019:
|Team||Practical Cap Space|
|New York Knicks||$51,660,536|
The other teams on this list DO NOT have the young core that the Mavericks front office has acquired and developed, hopefully this will give us a leg up on other teams in attracting talent. The Knicks have Porzingis, who may be the best player on any of these teams (Luka approaching quickly), but re-signing him will cost a max contract, eating up $27.3 M of that cap pace, putting their actual number closer to $24.3 M.
Looking at all of this, the Mavericks are in a great position coming into the summer of 2019 that can be potentially LOADED with great talent. But as Mavs fans know, having the cap space and actually being able to attract elite players are two entirely different things.
I know it is still very early in the season but speculation, anticipation, and player movement are part of what makes the NBA so great. Over the next several articles we will look at the top free agents available by position and as we progress through the season and develop a better idea of how Carlisle will utilize Doncic and Dennis, then we can start looking at which potential free agents fits best with their style of play. Let’s go build our next Championship team!
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