The Dallas Mavericks offseason has not gone how many fans envisioned it. Rather than re-signing with the Mavs, Jalen Brunson left to sign with the New York Knicks for a four-year, $104 million contract.
Then, instead of signing wing depth or a Jalen Brunson replacement with the taxpayer mid-level exception, the Mavericks inked JaVale McGee to a three-year, $20.1 million contract. Finally, the move (or non-move) that sent fans into a frenzy of hatred and despair was not signing Goran Dragic, who instead joined the Chicago Bulls.
Looking at these facts in a vacuum and being frustrated with the Mavericks front office is easy. After all, they reportedly failed to offer Jalen Brunson a contract extension in July 2021. That failure likely led directly to his decision to pursue signing with the team he and his mom, Sandra, both grew up loving. Jalen’s dad, Rick, played for the Knicks and now coaches the team.
Dallas Mavericks fans should be patient and let Nico Harrison work
Leon Rose, the Knicks' current President, was Rick’s agent and is Jalen’s godfather. Leon was also Jalen’s first agent, and Leon’s son, Sam, is now Jalen’s primary agent. So many connections to the Knicks exist that it now seems a foregone conclusion that Jalen Brunson was going to sign there.
The Mavs reportedly tried to trade Brunson at the trade deadline this past year. That may have cemented his desire to leave, but it is evident that he always wanted to play for the Knicks.
The JaVale McGee signing seems a little out of nowhere, but the Mavericks struggled with rim protection and rebounding in the playoffs. McGee should help with that. Fans have pointed out that the Mavericks made it to the Western Conference Finals while being out-rebounded, but the natural counter to that is, could they have made the finals or lasted more than five games had they had rim protection and rebounding?
On the surface, not signing Goran Dragic, who by all accounts expected to sign in Dallas, seems to be a misstep. However, the Mavericks may be working on some trade(s). As fans, we do not know the inner workings of the Mavericks organization, and this lack of knowledge makes it easy to speculate and then become angry about those speculations.
Perhaps the Mavs are working on a big trade. Maybe they are waiting to see what happens with the Kevin Durant situation and want to get in on a multi-team deal. It could also be that they are once again ruining the offseason, but I honestly believe that last scenario to be the least likely.
Part-way through the 2021 offseason, the Mavericks hired Nico Harrison as their general manager and president of basketball operations. He signed Reggie Bullock, a move that seemed like a bad one early in the season but had become a considerable addition by the playoffs.
Then at the trade deadline, just when it looked like the Mavs were going to standpat, Nico traded Kristaps Porzingis to the Washington Wizards for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. Once again, many fans were upset thinking the Mavericks lost the trade, but then Din and Bert both played roles in the Mavericks getting to the Western Conference Finals.
Recently Nico traded a bunch of Mavericks bench guys who didn’t crack the rotation and a first-round pick for Christian Wood. It looked like the Mavs were going to go without a pick in the draft this year, then they traded two future second-round selections for Jaden Hardy, the player they wanted to draft at number 26 in the first round anyway.
Harrison has made some smart moves that seem wrong or questionable initially but worked out well in the end. He has been the general manager for less than a year, and his track record has been encouraging.
The transaction season is less than a week old at this point, and it is folly to consider the offseason a failure with almost three months left. If the Mavericks go into the preseason with essentially this same roster, then they deserve all the criticism. But as of now, fans need to be patient and realize that the offseason is far from over.