Dallas Mavericks: Adding Isaiah Roby a sign Dorian Finney-Smith is out?

Dallas Mavericks Dorian Finney-Smith Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Dorian Finney-Smith Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images) /

In a draft-day trade with the Detroit Pistons, the Dallas Mavericks acquired forward Isaiah Roby from Nebraska. Mavs forward, Dorian Finney-Smith, is entering restricted free agency. Is there a connection?

The first player selected out of the University of Nebraska in 20 years is a soon to be Dallas Mavericks player. Mavs fans should get to know the new wing, Isaiah Roby. Roby is an exceptional defender who will primarily play the small forward position in the NBA. In a small ball lineup, Mavs fans could look forward to seeing him at the power forward position.

The Mavericks hit on their second-round pick in the 2018 draft with Jalen Brunson, a junior out of Villanova. Roby is also a three-year player and is a little older for a rookie, at 21. Perhaps Donnie Nelson is trying to replicate the game plan from last years draft by going with a more seasoned athlete.

With a 7’3″ wingspan, Mavs fans should expect a lot of blocked shots and swats on the perimeter or in the paint. This makes him very versatile at the next level. Roby isn’t terrible from three-point land, but if he can develop and craft his outside game better, he will become a very valuable player.

Not only will this be a chance for Roby to make the final roster. This also brings in competition for Justin Jackson, who was acquired in a trade deadline deal in February of 2019. This could push Jackson to work on his game and hit the weight room to add some muscle.

Like former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Tony Romo said, “Football is a meritocracy. You aren’t handed anything. You earn everything, every single day over and over again.” The same statement applies to any professional sport and most jobs for that matter. Justin Jackson and Isaiah Roby will have to earn the positional minutes for the 2019-2020 season.

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A Mavericks forward who’s future with the team is up in the air is Dorian Finney-Smith. Dorian is entering restricted free agency in a few days and will have a chance to sign with a new team. The Mavericks will have to make a hard choice if another team comes in and offers him big money. Currently, Finney-Smith has a 1.9 million dollar cap hold on the Mavs cap.

What the Mavs also could do is going with the option of renouncing his rights to open up more cap space for a big name free agent. This would be a move to get a more talented player at the position.

As a restricted free agent, the Dallas Mavericks have the option to match any offer sheet that Finney-Smith accepts. The Mavericks will also soon have to make a decision on submitting the qualifying offer to Finney-Smith by June 29th.

Finney-Smith at age 26 is coming off his three-year undrafted rookie contract and has shown immense improvement in his defensive ability and polishing his all-around game over each season. He is a fan favorite that worked extremely hard to get where he is at in the rotation. Most undrafted free agents don’t even sniff a starting spot in the NBA with more investment going to first-round draft picks.

At age 26, most players are entering the prime of their careers and Maverick fans already know what Finney-Smith can bring. That’s a defensive, role-playing wing. Seeing an improvement in all four of the main statistics each of his first three seasons in the league is admirable and should be taken into account for future negotiations. Mavs fans also saw his minutes improve to 24.5 minutes per game and become a major contributor to the team last season.

There are two options the Mavericks can make. If they like Isaiah Roby that much, then we might see the Mavericks go younger with a more cap friendly contract and let Finney-Smith walk. Freeing up more money for the Dallas Mavericks in the running for other free agents.

If the Mavericks have that much trust in Finney-Smith to keep improving his game and help the team win now, then fans can expect to see them match any contract to a certain extent and return to compete for the starting forward position. This would mean the Mavericks could spend money elsewhere.

If this were to happen, then Jimmy Butler could be an option to pursue at the shooting guard position in free agency. Imagining a starting lineup with both Jimmy Butler and Finney-Smith would be a defensive nightmare on the perimeter for opposing teams.

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Whatever Dallas Mavericks Vice President, Donnie Nelson, and the front office decide to do with their new players and cap space, the decision won’t be easy. Fans will find out in the next couple of weeks as negotiations for free agents start June 30th at 6 p.m. ET.