Shortly after the Mavs season ended, reports started to come out about how the organization was being handled, they were negative to say the least. Mark Cuban moved quickly and parted ways with Donnie Nelson and Rick Carlise. It seems like Cuban knows that he cannot waste any time with a franchise player like Luka.
The Mavericks were on the cusp of beating the heavily favorited Los Angeles Clippers team but came up short, losing in 7 games. Dončić, the two-time 1st Team All-NBA player was far from the problem. Besides being fatigued during the later stages of games and bad free throw shooting, it was clear that Luka needed more help.
Mavs fans are eager to know what Cuban will do to make sure the Mavs are championship contenders for years to come and most importantly: Keep Luka Dončić.
The Jason Kidd hire can be hard to swallow for some, but it could be rewarding. Maverick diehards remember the magical 2011 season and Kidd was a huge part of that team. Recently, it has seems as though NBA players enjoy playing under former players. Rick Carlisle is an ex-player himself but at this point he is far removed from playing on the court and is widely considered to be unrelatable to young players. Kidd quickly solves the problem with relatability.
Kidd’s coaching track record doesn’t seem sexy, but he’s formed good relationships with star players as a coach in the past. When he was dismissed from the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo was very upset and vocal about not wanting to lose Kidd. Jason helped develop the two-time MVP into the player he is today, and they had a good connection. It was obvious at points throughout last season that Carlisle and Dončić did not have a great relationship. The most notable example of this was during the playoffs you could see Dončić upset with Carlisle’s decision to call a timeout when the Mavericks had the hot hand. If Kidd is able to bond with Luka immediately much like he did with Giannis that’s a benefit that no one will be able to deny.
The addition of Nico Harrison to the front office should work wonders for a team that has struggled to make an impact with free agency in the past. Harrison has made a name for himself as a Nike Executive by building relationships with star players. A prime example of this is his friendship with Damian Lillard.
With a new coaching staff and a freshened up front office, what should the Mavericks do this offseason? Here’s a few suggestions:
1. Keep Kristaps Porzingis.
I was just as disappointed in Porzingis as you were during the playoffs but the Mavs should be willing to give Porzingis another try, especially with his trade value at an all-time low. The big man averaged 20 and 9 for the regular season and shined in the bubble last year before his untimely injury. The potential is still there. You could use Carlisle as an excuse for his performance in the playoffs this year and with Kidd as the new HC maybe he becomes a more effective partner with Luka. My hope is that Kidd can help make Dončić and Porzingis mesh.
Plus, his contract is HUGE and most likely impossible to move. Unless it’s an offer you can’t refuse, ride it out with him at least one more year.
2. Pay THJ
Tim Hardaway Jr played lights out towards the end of the season. If he can keep that momentum going into the next season the Mavs will be fine. They are going to have to bring the Brinks truck out though as he will be looking for a nice payday. Somewhere around 4yr- 85 mill. Rumors are swirling that THJ is looking at the Miami Heat in Free agency, but his father Tim Hardaway Sr. recently came out and said that Dallas is a perfect fit for his son and would like for him to stay. That is a reason for optimism.
3. Free Agency
One of the problems for the Mavs was defense, especially in the paint. That needs to be addressed if they want to get far in the playoffs. They also need to address their half court sets as Luka was often doing too much at times. A good center/forward that can roll to the basket like John Collins (restricted FA) would be a lot of help. The Hawks owner came out with a statement saying that they will not be able to keep all their players, so there is a chance they might let Collins go, but it’s doubtful. Another big to look at is Richuan Holmes. Mavs fans know him well since Kings had their way with the Mavs in the regular season and he was one of the main reasons. Holmes can bring that toughness in the paint that the Mavs need. He also has great off-ball movement and with Doncic always looking for the open man, I believe Holmes would be somewhat a perfect fit. He averaged 14 and 8 rebounds last year, that would most likely increase if he ends up playing beside Dončić.
The Mavericks could also use another guard/wing that can create their own shot. The hot names that are out there are Demar Derozan, Kyle Lowry, Mike Conley, and Spencer Dinwiddie. All four would be good additions but if you’re a Mavs fan you have felt the pain over the years when hot free agents are mentioned because the Mavericks have a tendency to land none of them. Goran Dragic is currently playing with his brother Zoran for the Slovenian national team, Luka and Goran are close. Dragic is a RFA and the Heat is reportedly pursuing Khawi Leonard. The Heat would have to let Dragic go in order to sign Kawhi. Dragic was the Heats leading scorer in the bubble before getting hurt and if he finds the right role he can be very effective.
Kelly Oubre Jr is reportedly on the Mavs radar as well, but he is most likely expecting a big payday and would have to be part of a sign-and-trade deal to end up in a Mavericks jersey. Oubre averaged 15 points per game last season, he shot 43 percent from the field and just 31 percent from 3. Is he worth the risk? I don’t think so, but the new Mavericks GM might feel differently.
In the coming weeks we will see what direction this new Mavericks front office goes but one thing is for certain, next season is going to look and feel a lot different.