The Dallas Mavericks don’t need to catch a big fish this summer
By Jasmyn Wimbish
After years of missing on free agents, the Dallas Mavericks need to change their off-season plans.
When July 1st comes around the Dallas Mavericks will likely be making their pitches to DeMarcus Cousins and to a lesser extent Clint Capela. It will probably follow along the same lines of pitches made to Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan, Hassan Whiteside, and well, you get the idea.
Dallas has been hunting for a big man to anchor the defense since Tyson Chandler left the second time. Multiple attempts at filling the vacancy with sub-par centers have failed, and when the Mavericks had the opportunity to get a center through the draft, they opted for the best player approach over need.
So, the Mavericks find themselves in an all too familiar position this summer, trying to chase down another high-priced, big-name center. Cousins is at the top of the list, and if Dallas succeeds it will break the streak of strikeouts in July. But focusing on big names like Cousins, Capela, Jordan and even Dwight Howard is not what the Mavericks need, not right now anyway.
As much as Mavericks fans, Mark Cuban and Rick Carlisle hate to admit it, Dallas is rebuilding. There’s no way around it. The addition of Luka Dončić expedited that rebuild quite a bit, but Dallas is still very much on the outside looking in, and they have been since 2011. Despite this, Dallas has still gone after the biggest name each summer, even though they haven’t had a roster worthy of considering as a destination.
Dallas needs to build up its roster before it can go giant-chasing again. The draft indicated that the Mavericks are serious about addressing the lack of youth on the team, which is a great start. However, it isn’t attractive enough for someone like Cousins or Capela to leave their playoff teams for the Mavericks.
Instead, what Dallas should be considering is trying to stay as financially flexible as possible this summer. To do that, the Mavs should look at signing less expensive options, or trying to work a trade for a center with an expiring contract. Players that would fit this bill would be Marcin Gortat, Robin Lopez, Enes Kanter (player option), Kenneth Faried and Taj Gibson.
Next: Why Jalen Brunson is the steal of the draft
Those names might not jump off the page, but they all would be a significant upgrade to what Dallas has now. Getting a rental at center gives players like Dončić and Smith Jr. time to develop without impossibly high expectations. It also allows Dallas time to build chemistry and put together a strong core worthy of pitching to big-name free agents next summer.