The Mavs have been uncharacteristically quiet in free agency this offseason, as they hope to make as much internal improvement as possible.
The Mavericks have been fully transparent about their rebuilding plans going forward. Without a single free agency signing or even a meeting, the Mavericks are looking to take the next step in their long-term plan by hoping for substantial improvement from within, starting this coming year.
Part of the reason that the Mavericks have been absent from the free agency frenzy has been their impressive cast of young players. With Dennis Smith Jr., Seth Curry, Harrison Barnes and Nerlens Noel leading the team’s young core, there is little reason for the Mavs to pay for high priced free agents and sacrifice future cap space.
While adding another young reserve could only help the team, the fear is that anybody being added to the rotation would disrupt the team’s rebuilding advancements. For example, signing a point guard only gets in the way of the development of Dennis Smith Jr. and Yogi Ferrell. Signing a veteran point guard to help mentor the young guards is pointless, as the team already has J.J. Barea and Devin Harris under contract.
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Adding a shooting guard such as Ben McLemore or Ian Clark could be helpful, but may prove to backfire on the team. With Wesley Matthews under contract as the starter and Seth Curry becoming a more and more valuable bench piece, the team is correctly reluctant to throw another name into that discussion.
Signing a small forward also makes little to no sense. Similar to the shooting guard spot, the Mavs have Harrison Barnes on a long term deal as the starter, and will likely give more and more playing time to promising young forward Dorian Finney-Smith. The Mavericks have reason to believe that Finney-Smith could be the team’s next Jae Crowder, as the young forward still has no pressure on him and years to grow.
At power forward, the Mavericks have essentially ruled out any potential signing. Behind Dirk Nowitzki, Dwight Powell is the team’s young asset going forward. Josh McRoberts was acquired to provide some depth, but is not a long term piece. Paying a lot of money to JaMychal Green would excite fans, but would set back Powell’s development.
Finally at center, Nerlens Noel is the team’s primary piece going forward. This is the one position where a young player could be considered. Salah Mejri is decent as the backup, but is 31 years old and seems to have already hit his ceiling as a player.
All in all, the Mavericks have talent at all five positions, which gives them reason to be excited about their future. Staying quiet in free agency and in the trade market is absolutely the right stance for the team as they look to add to their young core and take a leap in their rebuild.