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Dallas Mavericks: Waiving Kostas Antetokounmpo was the right decision

Dallas Mavericks Kostas Antetokounmpo (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Kostas Antetokounmpo (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Dallas Mavericks forward Kostas Antetokounmpo was waived on July 19. Here is why the front office made the right decision.

The Dallas Mavericks traded for Kostas Antetokounmpo on draft night 2018. The deal involved three second round picks. It saw the Mavs land both Kostas and Ray Spalding.

From the beginning, Antetokoumpo was meant to be a developmental player for the Mavericks. He had a slim chance of seeing the NBA court during his rookie season. After seeing no real improvement in 2019 summer league play, it was time for the Mavs to end the experiment.

The NBA draft is a gamble, especially in the second round. So this is not a massive loss for the Mavericks unless Kostas is a reason for recruitment.

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Antetokounmpo played limited minutes at Dayton after being redshirted for his true freshman season. Only playing one year of college, the media and fans of the NBA had questioned why he was drafted in the first place.

The Mavs can’t operate off wishful thinking

One theory is the choice to draft Kostas Antetokounmpo was to be the early recruitment of his brother Giannis Antetokounmpo when he hit free agency. The Mavericks have made questionable moves in the past that led to letdowns and free agency failures.

In 2013, the Mavs infamously passed on the older brother Giannis in the draft. Dallas had a deal on the table with the Boston Celtics in the middle of the first round. Once Dallas selected Kelly Olynyk with the 13th pick, they swapped him for point guard Shane Larkin.

The trade was all in motivation to make a run at free agents Dwight Howard or Chris Paul. Mavs owner Mark Cuban desired to clear as much cap space as possible to offer a max contract for one of the two. Neither player accepted the deal. The summer of 2013 isn’t the only time the Mavericks have bungled an offseason due to getting ahead of themselves.

It is plausible that Dallas has come to their senses and realized that the “Greek Freak” is not going to wear a Mavericks jersey.

Kostas didn’t play well enough in the 2019 Summer League to earn the second year of his two-way contract. It was time for Dallas to move on.

The emergence of Reaves

Undrafted shooting guard Josh Reaves made some excellent defensive plays for the Mavericks summer league team. Reaves averaged 12.6 points and 1.2 steals per game while only starting two out of five games. Dallas also recently waived two-way contract guard Daryl Macon. That leaves another open slot.

Kostas Antetokounmpo is already 21 years old. Not old by any means but for a developmental player that is nowhere near ready to play NBA minutes, it was the right move. The Mavericks are in a win-now mode and plan on competing for a playoff spot this season.

Josh Reaves is an NBA-ready player that would provide the Mavericks with defensive energy.

It is unclear what the Maverick’s plans are to fill the final roster spot. The fanbase is buzzing about Reaves and for a good reason. If the Mavericks decide to go with a younger player, then fans can expect to see Josh Reaves or Isaiah Roby in the final slot.

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If they choose to bring in a veteran, then expect Josh Reaves and Isaiah Roby to spend most of their time with the Texas Legends in G-League next season. Both men will be awaiting their chance to play for the Dallas Mavericks, though.