Mavs Free Agent Christmas List

Top 10 Free-Agents of 2019

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Santa, if your reading this, thank you for all of the tanks you gave us the last few years, they really helped! But all I want for Christmas this year is another elite player to join Luka Doncic and Dennis Smith Jr to build the next great Champion Dallas Mavericks team. Oh, and for Dirk’s legs to work again, thank you!

‘Tis the season for family, faith, and holiday cheer!  The Dallas Mavericks have certainly given us plenty to be cheerful for this holiday season.  We have tremendous young talent in Dennis Smith Jr, Luka Doncic, Harrison Barnes, and Jalen Brunson.  We have the return of Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki in his 21st season with the team.  And we have a team that is competitive and in the thick of the playoff race.

‘Tis also the season to go shopping! And do you know when shopping is the most fun? When you have a big budget!  Fortunately for Mavs fans, that is the situation for the Dallas Mavericks this coming summer.  The Mavericks will have an estimated $57 million in cap space (which already assumes Barnes opts IN to his $25M Player option and Powell opts IN to his $10M player option), a number that as of today estimates to be the second most in the league.  With such a strong young core of players, quality organization, and proven Championship coach I expect Dallas to be major players for some top level talent, which there is plenty of this summer.

Although we are talking free-agency and none of this will happen this summer, I don’t think it can hurt to put in a little special request to Santa this holiday with our Mavs Free-Agent Christmas List, a top 10 ranking of free agents for the Mavericks for 2019.

Honorable Mentions for this list can be found in the articles on each specific position:

Mavs Free Agency: Point Guards

Mavs Free Agency: Shooting Guards

Mavs Free Agency: Small Forwards

Mavs Free Agency:  Power Forwards

Mavs Free Agency:  Centers

Mavs Free Agency:  Cap Space

*Warning: there may be explicit language in highlight videos.

RFA – Restricted Free Agent
UFA – Unrestricted Free Agent
PO – Player Option
TO – Team Option
Career Earnings – Money earned by NBA salary through the 2018-2019 season, does not include 2019 Option amount.

10.Cousins DeMarcus Cousins, C, Golden State Warriors

Type Age  2018 Salary  Career Earnings  2019 Option
UFA 28  $5.3 M $84.6 M N/A
Season G PTS REB AST STL BLK FG% 3P% eFG% FT%
 ’17-’18 48 25.2 12.9 5.4 1.6 1.6 47% 35% 53% 75%
Career 535 21.5 11 3.2 1.4 1.2 46% 34% 48% 74%

Cousins has proven he can be an absolute dominant force in the NBA, no matter who he is matched up against. Just look at his stat line from the 2017 season and you can easily see he is on a different level then most other Centers. He can shoot, dribble, be a force in the post, and defend the basket.  But his style of play, mindset, and injury history is was makes me hesitant to put him higher on this list.

Cousins, a.k.a Boogie, tore his achilles in January of 2018, an injury that will most likely keep him out for a majority of this season.  The plan seems to be to try to return a month before the postseason to try to integrate with the rest of the Warriors for the playoff run.  Even when he returns it seems unlikely that we will see vintage Boogie.

Even if he was 100% healthy I don’t think he is the type of center that the Mavericks are looking for.  Frankly, he dribbles too much.  We have two primary ball handlers as our building blocks and bringing in a big man who tries to do too much, and habitually is among the league leaders in turnovers (5 per game in 2017-2018), seems too risky for my liking.

9.Gasol Marc Gasol, C, Memphis Grizzlies

Type Age  2018 Salary  Career Earnings  2019 Option
PO 33 $24.1 M $155 M $25.6 M
Season GP PTS REB AST STL BLK FG% 3P% FT% eFG%
 ’18-’19 27 16.4 8.7 4 1.4 1.6 45% 39% 74% 51%
Career 743 15.2 7.7 3.4 0.9 1.5 49% 35% 78% 50%

Gasol does it all. He has anchored one of the top defenses in the league for years, can score inside, can score outside, and he distributes the ball with the precision of a guard.

Gasol being 33 is a little bit concerning but I think his game will age very well. He has never been one to beat opponents with speed or athleticism, he wins with skill, savvy, and size.

A little added benefit would be that signing Gasol would steal him away from the Southwest Division rival Memphis Grizzlies. He would also be a great mentor to Luka Doncic.  Gasol is from Spain where Luka has spent the last 6 years of his life playing and winning for Real Madrid. Anything we can do to make Luka more comfortable and want to stay here 21 years like Dirk, count me in.

 

8.Vucevic Nikola Vucevic, C, Orlando Magic

Type Age  2018 Salary  Career Earnings  2019 Option
UFA 28 $13.3 M $56.5 M N/A
Season GP PTS REB AST STL BLK FG% 3P% FT% eFG%
 ’18-’19 28 20.8 11.5 3.7 1 1 54% 41% 83% 58%
Career 484 15.1 9.9 2.3 0.8 0.9 50% 33% 74% 51%

The casual NBA fan has probably never even heard of Nikola Vucevic and the reason is because he plays for the Orlando Magic.  He is a really good scorer, rebounder, and passer but has been wasting 6 years in Orlando after being traded from Philadelphia as part of the Andrew Bynum deal that started the 76ers tanking process.  I would love to see what Vucevic could do with a team around him. The best player he has played with is probably Victor Oladipo and that was in his first few years before Vucevic became the player he is today.

Value comes into play this with ranking as I am not sure the Magic are going to come at Vucevic with a big offer.  The magic are building around a core of Aaron Gordon (PF), Mo Bamba (C), and Jonathan Isaac (F).  With all 3 of their core players being in the frontcourt, I find it unlikely they will want to invest major resources in Vucevic since they are so far away from being contenders.  This seems like a great opportunity for the Mavs to swoop in and lock up a legitimate starting center for the next 3-4 years while he is in his prime.

 

 

7.Butler Jimmy Butler, SG/SF, Philadelphia 76ers

Type Age  2018 Salary  Career Earnings  2019 Option
PO 29 $20.4 M $77.8 M $19.8 M
Season GP PTS REB AST STL BLK FG% 3P% FT% eFG%
 ’18-’19 23 20.4 5.2 3.5 2.1 0.8 48% 40% 84% 53%
Career 481 16.6 4.9 3.4 1.6 0.5 45% 34% 83% 49%

Jimmy Butler came into the league as the 30th pick in the 2011 draft by the Chicago Bulls.  After hardly playing in his Rookie season, he earned major minutes in year 2 and made his mark by playing in all 82 games and doing all the dirty work for solid Bulls team.  Hard work is the story of Butler’s career as he continues to improve and add things to his game each year to the point where he won 2015 Most Improved Player, is a 4x All-Star, 4x All-Defense, and 2x All NBA.

The Butler/Timberwolves drama is finally over and Butler has been sent to Philadelphia to run with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid on a 1-year rental.  Butler will undoubtedly decline his 2019 player option of $20M and look for a huge max deal this summer.  Although Philly is right now seen as a temporary landing spot, it makes a lot of sense for Butler to start building a long-lasting rapport with their 2 young stars.  One of the game’s best two-way players and still in his prime, Jimmy should have some choices of which team he would like to join next season.

 

6.Randle Julius Randle, PF/C, New Orleans Pelicans

Type Age  2018 Salary  Career Earnings  2019 Option
PO 23  $8.6 M  $22 M  $9 M
Season GP PTS REB AST STL BLK FG% 3P% FT% eFG%
 ’18-’19 30 19.3 9.5 2.8 0.6 0.6 56% 32% 70% 58%
Career 268 14.2 9 2.6 0.6 0.5 50% 27% 72% 51%

The 7th overall pick in 2014, Julius Randle is a handful for opposing defenders.  He is quick, athletic, and can handle the ball from end to end.  He has a good enough jump shot to make bigs come out and challenge, then he hits them with a pump fake or crossover and takes them right to the rim.  Nearly 80% of Randle’s shots are taken from 10 feet or within this season, thus why his effective field goal percentage is so high.

The fact that Randle is only 23 years old has a lot to do with his high ranking.  He is from Dallas (Played at Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano), and is playing like he does not want to even consider his $9 M player option for next season. He is the frontrunner for sixth man of the year this season and I think he will win it if he avoids starting more than half of his games.  I think it is time for someone to give Randle a long-term deal, and if it was the Mavs I wouldn’t be mad at it.

 

5. ThompsonKlay Thompson, SG, Golden State Warriors

Type Age  2018 Salary  Career Earnings  2019 Option
UFA 28  $19 M  $78.8 M N/A
Season GP PTS REB AST STL BLK FG% 3P% FT% eFG%
 ’18-’19 29 22.4 4 1.9 1 0.7 45% 35% 81% 52%
Career 566 19.4 3.4 2.3 0.9 0.5 46% 42% 85% 55%

Klay Thompson is head and shoulders above any other shooting guard potentially available in free agency.  He has proven over his 7 seasons in the NBA that he is an elite scorer and can more than hold his own on the defensive end.  He is a 3x NBA Champion, 4x All-Star, and 2x All-NBA.

Klay Thompson would be a perfect fit on any team, but pairing him with young playmakers like Luka Doncic and Dennis Smith Jr would have me jumping for joy.  He proved he does not need the ball in his hands to make an impact with his RIDICULOUS 60 points in 29 minutes with only 11 dribbles in a 2016 regular season game.  He is only 28 (29 by this summer), played 7 full seasons, and is already 22nd all-time in the NBA made 3-pointers with 1,596.  If it wasn’t for Steph Curry there is a very real chance we would all be calling Klay Thompson the best shooter of all-time.  He has the highest number of 3s in a single season by anyone other than Steph Curry and hes been doing it shooting 42%.  It would not seem right to break up the Splash Brothers, but if Klay wants to try his hand at being a team’s top scorer we would welcome him in Dallas with open arms, and an open checkbook.

4.Irving Kyrie Irving, PG, Boston Celtics

Type Age  2018 Salary  Career Earnings  2019 Option
PO 26 $20.1 M $94.7 M $21.3 M
Season GP PTS REB AST STL BLK FG% 3P% FT% eFG%
 ’18-’19 25 22.5 4.6 6.4 1.6 0.5 48% 39% 83% 56%
Career 466 22 3.5 5.5 1.3 0.3 46% 39% 87% 52%

2012 Rookie of the Year, 5x All-Star, and NBA Champion, Kyrie Irving has racked up some impressive achievements in his first 7 years in the league, including what may be the biggest shot in NBA Finals history  He has some of the sickest handles EVER and finishes off the glass like few others even think about.  An absolute assassin than can get buckets any way he wants or can set up teammates for easy scores.  This guy is an game-changer.

Remember, he has never signed a contract with Boston, he was traded after telling Cavs management that he wanted out after they lost in the 2017 NBA Finals.  The Celtics are a winning organization loaded with young assets and a top tier head coach so it would be surprising to see Kyrie move on from Boston.  Point guard is not an area of need for the Mavericks but no matter how your roster looks, you do not say no to adding a guy as talented as Kyrie.  Having two magicians with the basketball like Irving and Doncic would make the Mavs one it, if not the most, exciting teams in the league.  Adding Kyrie would not mean that Dennis Smith Jr would be out.  With his defense, athleticism, playmaking, and improved spot up shooting, DSJ can be an ideal off-ball guard in Rick Carlisle’s two point guard system.

3.Durant Kevin Durant, SF/PF, Golden State Warriors

Type Age  2018 Salary  Career Earnings  2019 Option
PO 30 $30 M $190.2 M $31.5 M
Season GP PTS REB AST STL BLK FG% 3P% FT% eFG%
 ’18-’19 29 28.9 7.7 6.2 1 1 51% 35% 93% 56%
Career 800 27.2 7.1 4 1.1 1.1 49% 38% 88% 54%

Many are surprised to see the back-to-back Finals MVP third on any list.  KD is as good of a scorer as any player in NBA history.  He is the rarest combination of height, length, athleticism, and skill that renders defenders obsolete.  Any team that signs Durant immediately becomes a team that expects to win an NBA Championship immediately.

I am one of the NBA fans that was disappointed in Durant’s decision to leave Oklahoma City to go to Golden State after the Warriors had just come back from 3-1 deficit to beat Durant and the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals.  I was looking for Thunder/Warriors to be a great rivalry in the Western Conference for years, but Durant deprived fans of that by signing with the Warriors as a free agent in 2016.  Will he shock the world again and leave Golden State to blaze a new path?  This seemed unlikely a few months ago, but with the recent beef between he and Draymond Green, franchises around the NBA are starting to put together their KD free-agency pitch speeches.

Although I hold his 2016 decision against him and find is cringe-worthy when he talked about how he views and talks about his legacy in Golden State, I am willing to admit I would flip-flop and support Durant if he decided he wanted to come play basketball in Dallas next season but I find that to be very unlikely.  I find it more likely we see Durant go to LA, New York, or just return to Golden State.

 

2. Porzingis Kristaps Porzingis, PF/C, New York Knicks

Type Age  2018 Salary  Career Earnings  2019 Option
RFA 23  $5.7 M  $18.7 M N/A
Season GP PTS REB AST STL BLK FG% 3P% FT% eFG%
 ’17-’18 48 22.7 6.6 1.2 0.8 2.4 44% 40% 79% 49%
Career 186 17.8 7.1 1.3 0.7 2 44% 36% 80% 49%

Having Kristaps Porzingis, coming off a serious knee injury, above Kevin Durant may sound ridiculous but Porzingis is called the Unicorn for a reason, he is a true do-it-all player in a freakishly long 7’3″ frame.  The #4 overall pick in 2015 from Latvia took no time to make a name, or nickname, for himself in the NBA by averaging 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game as a 20 year old rookie.  3 years later and still only 23, Porzingis has grown into an offensive and defensive force who has unlimited shooting range.

What would be better than Porzingis going to Dallas and learning the unstoppable one-legged fade from the master craftsman himself, Dirk Nowitzki.

I’m trying to figure out how the Knicks can screw up Porzingis’ restricted free agency but the only way he is not a Knick long term is if he finally gets fed up with the organization and refuses to sign a long term extension with them. This is an unlikely scenario but if any team can find a way to screw it up, its the Knicks.  Maybe he will decide he doesn;t want to spend his life playing for an ungrateful fanbase that boo’ed him on draft night.  Seeing these fans hold up there Carmelo Anthony jerseys in pride while boo’ing Porzingis is cringe-worthy.

If Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban can pull some sort of miracle, MFFLs would be forever grateful. Pairing Porzingis with Luka Doncic is what dreams are made of.

 

1.Leonard Kawhi Leonard, SF, Toronto Raptors

Type Age  2018 Salary  Career Earnings  2019 Option
PO 27 $23.1 M $84.5 M $21.3 M
Season GP PTS REB AST STL BLK FG% 3P% FT% eFG%
 ’18-’19 22 26.1 8.3 3 1.9 0.7 49% 38% 86% 54%
Career 429 16.8 6.3 2.3 1.8 0.7 49% 39% 85% 55%

NBA Champion, Finals MVP, and 2x Defensive Player of the Year, Kawhi Leonard certainly has some impressive accolades through his first 6 years with the San Antonio Spurs.  Then last season’s injuries and subsequent fued with the Spurs organization resulted in Kawhi being shipped off to the Eastern Conference Toronto Raptors.

Everyone was wondering if he would be the same player after taking nearly an entire year off and playing without Coach Greg Popovich for the first time. 22 games into his stint with the Raptors it is VERY clear that Kawhi has not lost a step. He is still the clutch, defensively dominant NBA superstar that we have seen in the past as the Raptors are off to a 23-8 start, top in the entire NBA.

Bringing Kawhi Leonard into the Mavericks organization would immediately make them title contenders.  Kawhi is an MVP caliber player and hands down the best perimeter defender in the league.  A little added bonus for Kawhi if he came to Dallas, he would get to beat up on the Spurs 4 times a year, something I think he would really enjoy.

 

 

Honorable Mentions for this list can be found in the articles on each specific position:

Mavs Free Agency: Point Guards

Mavs Free Agency: Shooting Guards

Mavs Free Agency: Small Forwards

Mavs Free Agency:  Power Forwards

Mavs Free Agency:  Centers

Mavs Free Agency:  Cap Space

7 thoughts on “Mavs Free Agent Christmas List

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