What is the Dallas Mavericks’ best course of action with Josh Richardson?
Richardson has a player option for $11.6 million this offseason. Most assumed he would opt-out, but things may have changed. He must play better. If Josh Green continues to shine in the minutes he takes from Richardson, it probably won’t please the latter too much to lose significant playing time to a 20-year-old.
There’s also the cap situation. Tim Hardaway Jr. and J.J. Reddick, who earn roughly $19 million and $13 million this year respectively, are both unrestricted free agents this summer. With Luka’s mega-contract inching ever closer, the Mavs can’t tie up a large amount of money in three shooting guards. As inconsistent as Hardaway can be, he’s averaged about 39 percent from three as a Maverick, and this year he’s seen his inside scoring and points per 36 minutes rocket to career highs. THJ is the safer offensive investment.
The bright side of the Richardson dilemma is that his problems are obvious and fixable. They need to give him a higher defensive responsibility and improve his 3-point shooting. The Mavericks have desperately needed a two-way player for a long time, and Richardson can be that.
Josh Richardson has shown that he can be a reliable scoring option, but the responsibility falls on the Mavs to either supply more defensive help around Luka this summer, or Richardson will have to accept the task of higher defensive accountability. The Dallas Mavericks need gritty, consistently aggressive defenders. JRich will simply have to step it up if he wants to be a difference-maker in Dallas.