The Smoking Cuban

Which “Big Fish” will end the drought for the Dallas Mavericks?

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 02: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks guards against Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks in the third quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center on April 2, 2017 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 02: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks guards against Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks in the third quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center on April 2, 2017 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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The Dallas Mavericks haven’t had the best luck reeling in the big fish during free agency. Don’t call this a hot take, but the light at the end of the tunnel may be near.

Barring a repeat of 2015, the Dallas Mavericks will sign DeAndre Jordan on July 6, when free agents can officially sign their new deals. Whether or not you have forgiven Jordan for his about-face, which ended with him re-signing with the L.A. Clippers, adding him to this current roster is pretty exciting. However, this isn’t the big splash that fans envisioned.

For years, the love has been unrequited between the Mavericks and its free agent targets. Signing these players, years after extravagant courting and let-downs, doesn’t quite feel the same. Mavs fans still await the day that a marquee free agent–in his prime–chooses and commits to Dallas.

That day, like the inevitable end to Dirk Nowitzki’s Hall of Fame career, is on the horizon.

Milwaukee Connection

How fitting would it be for the next face of the franchise to be another player drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks? I predict that Giannis Antetokounmpo will be a Maverick, following the 2020-21 season, when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Interestingly enough, Dallas had the chance to draft Antetokounmpo, with the No. 13 pick at the 2013 draft. Unlike the 1998 draft, when Dallas traded with Milwaukee for the rights to Nowitzki, they passed on the European phenom, letting him slip to the Bucks at pick No. 15.

Antetokounmpo has since become an absolute stud. The 6-foot-11-inch point-forward dominates both ends of the court, with insane athleticism and length, earning the nickname “Greek Freak.” The otherworldly athlete finished the 2017-18 season with averages of 26.9 points, 10 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.4 blocks.

The Buck Stops Here

As great as the 23-year-old star is, Milwaukee has yet to capitalize on his talents. As seen by an increase in player mobility, players of his caliber seem to prioritize winning by any means. Chances of a team retaining its star player are slimmer now than ever before.

The most recent player to make such a move is LeBron James. He left the Cleveland Cavaliers once again. This time, he is headed to the L.A. Lakers.

On Monday July 2, Giannis was asked by Fox Sports One radio host Colin Cowherd if he would ever leave for the Lakers. In an era of super teams, his response is refreshing.

As NBA fans, that combination of loyalty and competitiveness is something we rarely see these days. However, if Milwaukee fails to put itself in position to compete for Eastern Conference supremacy at the very least, Giannis may rethink his stance.

The addition of DeAndre is a step in the right direction. It’s similar to a player hitting free throws on a night when their shot isn’t falling. As bad as things have been in free agency for Dallas, the only way is up.

The young core of Dennis Smith, Jr. and Luka Dončić may help the organization acquire its next cornerstone player.

Next: Dallas Mavericks: How Luka Dončić and Dennis Smith Jr. fit

It should be noted that Giannis’ agent, Alex Saratsis, also represents former-Mavericks player Seth Curry and Kostas Antetokounmpo–his younger brother who was drafted by Dallas in the 2018 draft. Let your mind run wild, and as always… go Mavs!

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