2019 Offseason In Review: Dallas Mavericks

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2019 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2019/20 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Dallas Mavericks.

Signings:

  • Standard contracts:
    • Kristaps Porzingis: Five years, maximum salary ($158.25MM). Fifth-year player option. Re-signed using Bird rights.
    • Maxi Kleber: Four years, $34MM. Includes incentives. Fourth year not fully guaranteed. Re-signed using Early Bird rights.
    • Seth Curry: Four years, $32MM. Signed using mid-level exception.
    • Delon Wright: Three years, $27MM. Includes incentives. Acquired via sign-and-trade using trade exception.
    • Dorian Finney-Smith: Three years, $12MM. Re-signed using Bird rights.
    • Boban Marjanovic: Two years, $7MM. Signed using bi-annual exception.
    • J.J. Barea: One year, minimum salary. Re-signed using Bird rights.
  • Two-way contracts:
  • Non-guaranteed camp contracts:

Trades:

  • Acquired the draft rights to Isaiah Roby (No. 45 pick), the Jazz’s 2020 second-round pick, and the Trail Blazers’ 2021 second-round pick from the Pistons in exchange for the draft rights to Deividas Sirvydis (No. 37 pick).
  • Acquired Delon Wright in a sign-and-trade from the Grizzlies in exchange for the draft rights to Satnam Singh, the Trail Blazers’ 2021 second-round pick, and either the Mavericks’ or Heat’s 2023 second-round pick (whichever is less favorable).

Draft picks:

  • 2-45: Isaiah Roby — Signed to four-year, $6.73MM contract. Third year non-guaranteed. Fourth-year team option. Signed using mid-level exception.

Waiver claims:

  • Aric Holman (from Lakers). One year, minimum salary contract (Exhibit 10). Claimed using minimum salary exception.

Contract extensions:

  • Dwight Powell: Three years, $33.24MM. Starts in 2020/21; runs through 2022/23.

Departing players:

Other offseason news:

  • Hired Jason Terry as assistant GM of Texas Legends.
  • Mark Cuban fined $50K for leaking information from NBA’s Board of Governors meeting.

Salary cap situation:

  • Remained over the cap.
  • Carrying approximately $120.39MM in salary.
  • Hard-capped.
  • $297K of mid-level exception still available ($8.96MM used on Seth Curry and Isaiah Roby).
  • $123K of bi-annual exception still available ($3.5MM used on Boban Marjanovic).
  • $11.83MM traded player exception available (expires 2/7/20).

Story of the summer:

The 2019 offeason was similar to most other recent offseasons in Dallas for one key reason: The Mavericks entered free agency armed with enough cap room to sign a maximum-salary player, but struck out on their top target(s).

Nikola Vucevic and Al Horford were among the players cited as possible options for the Mavericks. But it was Horford’s decision to opt out and become a free agent in the first place that actually indirectly cost the team its presumed No. 1 target. With Horford and Kyrie Irving leaving Boston, the Celtics suddenly had the cap flexibility to box out the Mavs in the Kemba Walker sweepstakes. Team owner Mark Cuban acknowledged in mid-July that his team had been eyeing Walker and had to “adjust” when the C’s snatched him up.

Still, while there was nothing new about the Mavs missing out on their preferred veteran star in free agency, there was one important difference this time around — the franchise had already acquired a potential cornerstone in a trade earlier in the year. And since Kristaps Porzingis was a restricted free agent, Dallas had no problem locking him up to a five-year, maximum-salary contract.

While the Mavs certainly would’ve liked to add a veteran All-Star like Walker to the mix to form a Big Three with up-and-coming stars Porzingis and Luka Doncic, they’ll have more opportunities to go that route. Doncic won’t get a huge raise until 2022, and the club should have major cap flexibility again in 2021. By that time, perhaps the allure of joining Porzingis and Doncic will strengthen the Mavs’ position in free agency, allowing them to secure the big fish that has eluded them in recent years.

Key offseason losses:

He was far from an elite player during the final year of his career in 2018/19, but Dirk Nowitzki retired this spring as far and away the best Maverick in franchise history. After spending 21 seasons in Dallas, Nowitzki is the team’s all-time leader in points, rebounds, three-pointers, blocks, and way too many other categories to list.

Mark Cuban and the Mavs’ front office probably regrets not being able to build a more effective roster around Nowitzki during the final years of his career. After winning a title in 2011, Dirk only made four more playoff appearances and didn’t make it out of the first round in any of them.

Even if it wasn’t a storybook ending for Nowitzki in Dallas, the 21-year union between the Mavs and the German was a bigger success than an NBA team and player could realistically expect. The 41-year-old retires after having established a new record for most seasons spent with a single team, and it seems inevitable that he’ll get involved with the Mavs’ front office or ownership group at some point.

None of the Mavericks’ other departures were nearly as notable as Dirk’s, but Salah Mejri was a solid backup big man, and Trey Burke and Devin Harris played regular minutes in the backcourt. While Harris remains unsigned and could theoretically still return to Dallas, the team already has 15 players on guaranteed contracts.

Key offseason additions:

Many of the Mavericks’ free agent deals this summer were with their own free agents — Porzingis, Maxi Kleber, Dorian Finney-Smith, and J.J. Barea all re-upped with Dallas on new contracts. However, the club also brought in a handful of role players who should complement Doncic and Porzingis and solidify the rotation.

Seth Curry, signed using the mid-level exception, enjoyed a breakout season in Dallas in 2016/17, when he averaged 12.8 PPG with a .425 3PT%. A leg injury sidelined Curry for his final season with the Mavs, and he spent the 2018/19 campaign in Portland, but he’s back in Dallas now on a four-year contract that will pay him $32MM.

The Mavs attempted the fourth-most three-pointers in the NBA last season, but ranked 27th in three-point percentage. Their percentage dipped even further after the All-Star break without Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews in the lineup. It made sense then that two of the club’s top targets in free agency were Curry and Danny Green, both of whom ranked in the top three in 3PT% in 2018/19. The Mavs couldn’t land Green, but Curry will be asked to let it fly and provided much-needed floor spacing this season.

Because they remained over the cap, the Mavs held onto the $21MM+ trade exception they generated in last season’s Barnes deal, and used part of that exception to acquire Delon Wright in a sign-and-trade. Wright, who frequently played alongside another point guard during his three and a half years in Toronto, should have no problem sharing the court with Doncic and sharing play-making responsibilities with the second-year star.

In the middle, the Mavs opted to replace Mejri with Boban Marjanovic, a big man capable of looking like the most dominant player on the court in certain matchups and being run off the floor in others. Like Mejri, he probably won’t be asked to play more than 10-15 minutes per game, and there may be nights when he sees less than that.

Outlook for 2019/20:

It’s a new era for the Mavericks in Dallas as the club prepares for life without Nowitzki. While the 14-time All-Star will certainly be missed, the Mavs appear to have identified a pair of players capable of headlining the new era of Dallas basketball, and it will be fascinating to see how Doncic and Porzingis mesh this season.

If the two rising stars stay healthy and make the sort of strides we expect, the Mavs could enter the playoff mix in the Western Conference sooner than we expect. The safer bet is that the duo remains at least a year away from making any real noise in the West, but this is a team on the rise. After three straight seasons of 49+ losses, the Mavs will be expecting to take a step forward in 2019/20.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post. Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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6 thoughts on “2019 Offseason In Review: Dallas Mavericks

  1. It’s going to be a tough year for somebody out West. Will it be the Mavericks? You have to think making the playoffs will be:

    Portland and Utah, Clippers and Lakers, Warriors and Rockets, nuggets and Spurs.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      It will be a tough year for a lot of teams out West. I think the Rockets, Clippers, Jazz, Nuggets are all locks while the Lakers and Warriors should also get one of the bottom 4 spots. That leaves Portland and the Spurs probably getting the final two spots like you say, but teams like Dallas, New Orleans, and Sacramento should challenge for the 7 and 8 seeds.

      • Dodgethis

        LOL as usual you think the rockets are a good team. This is going to be a rough year for you.

      • IslandFlava

        You keep telling yourself how good the Rockets are, you might believe it but… the reality will hit you hard my friend! Lakers are the top dogs in the west with Denver. Rockets are at the same level of the Warriors at best.

  2. x%sure

    There should be a name for the Dirk Era. The Dirkera. They’re now post-thedirkera.
    On to the Donzingera! No need for a third star. The new German Kleber is rising.

    • processtrustee

      No surprise top free agents weren’t going to Dallas, disappointing that they wasted cap window before KP signing without getting at least a quality starter. Julius Randle would have been a nice fit IMO.

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