In the weeks leading up to free agency, the Mavericks were identified as one of the most likely suitors for free agent point guard Kemba Walker. Dallas didn’t end up landing Walker, but in an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio, owner Mark Cuban confirmed that the All-NBA guard was very much on the club’s radar (transcript via Dallas Morning News).
“We were interested in Kemba. That was the one name associated with (us) we were interested (in),” Cuban said. “We didn’t expect Al Horford to opt out. Who knew that would happen? So when (Walker) decided to stay closer to home and go to Boston, well, we had to adjust.”
As Cuban explains, Horford’s opt-out decision, along with Kyrie Irving‘s departure, helped clear the way for the Celtics to open up the cap room necessary to land Walker. Once Kemba was off the board, Dallas shifted its focus to another free point guard.
“When Kemba wasn’t really going to be available at the start of free agency, our first call literally was Delon Wright, because we wanted somebody that could defend next to Luka (Doncic) and most of our guys, particularly our ones (and) twos were walk-it-up guys,” Cuban said. “Delon’s a downhill guy who can defend multiple positions. We’ll work with him some on his shot, but he’s a great finisher, he can get to the rim, he’ll make the play, he helps make his teammates better, and that’s what we were looking for. Because trying to get Luka to guard point guards is not going to work.”
Let’s round up a few more Mavs-related notes, including one or two more on Wright…
- Discussing the Mavericks’ acquisition of Wright, head coach Rick Carlisle said that he believes the former Raptors and Grizzlies point guard is capable of being a starter, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. “I don’t know that we’ll have a full-time starting team. But we wouldn’t have made this move if we didn’t think he was a starting-caliber player,” Carlisle said. “But the way to win now is to have starting-caliber players top-to-bottom. We’re trying to get as many as we can.”
- RealGM’s traded draft pick tracker has been updated to reflect the draft picks traded by the Mavericks to the Grizzlies in the Wright deal. Per RealGM, Memphis acquired Portland’s 2021 second-round pick, plus either Dallas’ or Miami’s 2023 second-round pick (whichever is less favorable).
- In the latest episode of his Inside the Green Room podcast, Danny Green explained that he chose the Lakers over the Mavericks because he feels as if L.A. is closer to contention (link via Dallas Morning News). “As much as I wanted to be (in Dallas), I knew that was going to be a building type of deal there and it was going to take two or three years before they started getting into the contention or to contender category, I felt,” Green said. “It all depended on how KP (Kristaps Porzingis) health-wise was, Luka’s coming up. A lot of things come into factor when it came to that.”