With free agency mere hours away, it’s time to predict where some of the players will land when the smoke clears. The Dallas Mavericks have a few moves to be made of their own, but movement will be seen all over the league.
—Re-signs with Mavs on 4 yr (PO after 3rd yr) / $192,000,000 deal
While Kyrie Irving will probably insist on making this a bit more dramatic than it needs to be, ultimately, he will return to one of the few teams around the league willing to make a major long-term investment in him. Irving, with everything that comes with him, is still one of the league’s best players and despite being a bizarre fit on paper, had some pretty good stretches on the floor with Luka Dončić in 16 games the two played together despite a 5-11 record.
Irving and Dončić will be limited defensively night after night, but offensively, they are an absolutely lethal duo that will strike fear into any opponent. Dallas will be holding their breath at every turn when it comes to Irving’s antics, but Dallas is still signing one of the best players in the NBA with this deal.
—Signs with Mavs on 2 yr/ $9,255,750 deal
After the news that Andre Drummond will ultimately not be coming to the Mavericks after opting into his last year with the Chicago Bulls, the Mavs are once again rather limited in what they can actually do with their big man rotation. A trade for Deandre Ayton is still a possibility, but now that Mo Bamba has been waived, Dallas can turn to the former University of Texas star.
Bamba’s career hasn’t been too inspiring to this point, but he still a relatively high upside player at 25 years old. Dallas is probably giving him a richer deal than he’s worth with the full bi-annual exception, but Dallas would be wise to make his contract big enough to help facilitate potential trades down the road.
—Signs with Mavs on 3 yr/ $39,069,450 deal
The Mavericks are in all likelihood going to be outbid for the more talked about perimeter free agents out there, notably Dillon Brooks and Bruce Brown. The odd man out could be Donte DiVincenzo. The Warriors only had him for one year, which barring a surprise, leaves DiVincenzo looking for work elsewhere as they only have non-bird rights on him. Dallas should pounce on the former Villanova star.
Defense, shooting, and rebounding is what will get Divincenzo this contract. He’s athletic, tough, crashes the offensive glass relentlessly, and would give the Mavericks the wing they’ve sorely lacked since trading Dorian Finney-Smith. Dallas will still probably have to cough up the full mid-level exception to sign DiVincenzo, but he is what the doctor ordered for this team.
—Re-signs with Mavs on 1 yr/ vet minimum deal
Bringing back Dwight Powell has some merit, but Dallas absolutely cannot return to this scenario unless Powell is essentially an emergency reserve purely there for his experience and leadership. There’s nothing to dislike about Dwight Powell, unfortunately there’s just not much on the court to like either at this point in his career.
Dallas absolutely has to get significantly bigger and better in the front court. Drafting Dereck Lively II and taking Richaun Holmes’s contract from the Kings was a good start, but Dallas, even after adding Bamba and bringing Powell back, still need to be looking to improve an average-at-best center rotation.
–Re-signs with Mavs on 1 yr/vet minimum deal
Few players throughout the NBA have had as much impact on a team without actually stepping on the court as Theo Pinson. Dallas has a long history of hanging on to culture-setting players who may have seen their playing days slip behind them. Pinson coming back feels like a no-brainer at this point, though it should be noted he didn’t always appear as though he stayed ready to play a year ago. But with limited assets and a cap-strapped payroll, Dallas will need all the free agent lobbying they can get.
While it doesn’t look like too promising of an offseason, the reality is the Mavericks do not have too many ways of improving their roster. Bruce Brown and some of the more coveted wings will likely get snatched up by teams with more flexibility or teams that progressed further in the playoffs, leaving Dallas with the underrated DiVincenzo. Looking back at last year, Dallas’s center rotation is certainly a world’s different, but time will tell to see about potential improvements.