The NBA free agency season begins Thursday night, June 30th, at 5:00 p.m. CT. While the Dallas Mavericks do not have cap space, they have the taxpayer mid-level exception available, which is about $6.3 million.
Reports have linked the Mavs to several free agent targets, including Gary Payton II and Gary Harris. However, quite a few players have not received as much attention that could help the Mavs depth. Let us look at five under-the-radar free agents who could help the Mavs and fit into their mid-level exception.
Free agent Dallas Mavericks should target with mid-level exception: 5. Dennis Schroder
The Mavs have said they are not interested in replacing the potentially departing Jalen Brunson and would instead go after wing defenders. However, if the Mavs cannot get a wing defender, an extra playmaker and ball-handler off the bench would be a good Plan B.
Schroder made $5.8 million last season, so he theoretically fits within the MLE. Between Boston and Houston last season, Schroeder averaged 13.5 points and 4.6 assists per game. With Spencer Dinwiddie possibly moving to the starting lineup, Schroder could help solidify the bench.
Free agent Dallas Mavericks should target with mid-level exception: 4. Malik Monk
Monk is a 6’4 guard with some defensive versatility, thanks to his 6'7 wingspan. He averaged 13 points and shot 39.1 percent from 3-point range with the Lakers last season.
Monk is more in the realm of the wing defender the Mavs are shifting to, but rumors suggest that Monk may take less money to stay with the Lakers. He made $1.7 million last season, so if he does decide to go after more money, the Mavs MLE would be a significant raise.
Free agent Dallas Mavericks should target with mid-level exception: 3. Otto Porter Jr.
Otto Porter Jr. is a player Mavs fans have been talking about on and off for a few years. While he is not the wing defender the Mavs are looking for, he is a big guy who can get buckets near the rim. Last season, Porter Jr. shot 56.5 percent from 2-point rane and a respectable 37.0 percent from beyond the 3-point line.
Porter Jr. averaged 8.2 points per game last season, which would give the Mavs a little more bench scoring. He has scored 11 points per game for his career and may have a more significant role with the Mavs than he did in Golden State.
Free agent Dallas Mavericks should target with mid-level exception: 2. Jalen Smith
Jalen Smith is only 22 years old and showed promise on the Indiana Pacers last season, averaging 13.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per over 22 games. Because he is so young, the 6'10 forward still has time to develop and would be a good backup for recently acquired Christian Wood.
Smith would give the Mavs a young, developing player that is something they lack outside of Josh Green and this year’s draft pick Jaden Hardy.
Free agent Dallas Mavericks should target with mid-level exception: 1. Isaiah Hartenstein
The LA Clippers re-signed Ivica Zubac to a three-year deal and are reportedly going to sign John Wall, which might leave Isaiah Hartenstein as the odd man out.
He might be the Mavericks best fit of the five for several reasons. For one, he’s German, and Mavericks fans tend to be fond of German players for some reason. He is also a seven-foot tall, elite rim protector and shot blocker. Even with the addition of Christian Wood, the Mavs still lack rim protection.
Hartenstein allows Wood to move over to the four if the Mavs go with a larger lineup. Otherwise, Hartenstein gives the Mavs a big backup five, a position they have been lacking for some time. A rotation of Wood, Hartenstein, and Kleber would allow the Mavs to have a big on the floor at all times, much like they did at the guard position with Luka Doncic, Jalen Brunson, and Spencer Dinwiddie last season.