Mavericks do not make trade on draft night: Pressure builds for free agency

Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Mavericks traded both of their 2021 NBA Draft picks. They sent their first-rounder to New York to acquire Kristaps Porzingis in 2019. Dallas dealt their second-round selection to the Pelicans at the deadline for J.J. Redick and Nicolo Melli. They decided against making a trade back in as the Mavs had a quiet draft night on July 29.

It should not come as a massive surprise. The Mavericks want to build a title contender around Luka Doncic. Their goal is to win now. Dallas did not have the assets to acquire a first-round pick and grabbing a second-rounder does not coincide with contending. Fans should not fret that the Mavericks did not acquire a draft pick.

The new front office’s lack of action on draft night adds pressure with the free agency period opening on Aug. 2. Here is a look at why.

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Dallas Mavericks standing pat on draft night adds pressure as free agency looms

It is no secret that the Mavs want to improve their supporting cast around Luka Doncic. New general manager and president of basketball operations Nico Harrison appears set to keep Kristaps Porzingis as his running mate, but the rest of the roster is expendable as Dallas seeks upgrades.

Marc Stein put out the rumor that the Mavericks have their sights set on signing free agents Kyle Lowry and Tim Hardaway Jr. Adding a six-time All-Star point guard with championship experience would be massive. Hardaway Jr. has become a key piece for the team. They want to re-sign him and add another playmaker.

Signing both players is not possible if they keep their current roster. Dallas could create $34 million in cap space this summer, but that would mean renouncing Hardaway Jr’s bird rights, declining Willie Cauley-Stein’s team option, and solving their Josh Richardson situation. J-Rich has a player option. If he opts in, the Mavs would have to trade him to clear that room. The Mavericks are going to have to move multiple pieces to sign both Lowry and THJ.

Standing pat on draft night adds pressure to make the deals. The team’s front office could be waiting to make sure they have an agreement with Lowry before trading away players, but there is still plenty of reason for fans to be nervous. The Mavericks have struck out in free agency before, and their lack of action on draft night brings back those nightmares.

Free agency begins on Aug. 2. The Dallas Mavericks must act fast because the market will dry up quickly. It will take multiple moves to create the necessary space to keep Tim Hardaway Jr. and sign a marquee free agent. Fans would love to see the front office get a jump by making a trade as soon as possible. It will be a nervy couple of days for Mavs fans.

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