The Dallas Mavericks have a glaring hole at the center spot. They reached the Western Conference Finals, but Dallas struggled to rebound and protect the rim in the playoffs. General manager and president of basketball operations Nico Harrison has made it clear that the Mavs want to improve on the inside this offseason.
The front office faces obstacles to finding a difference-maker at the five. They are projected to be over the luxury tax line before re-signing free-agent guard Jalen Brunson, which leaves Dallas just the taxpayer mid-level and minimum contracts to hand out in free agency. The Mavericks have the 26th overall pick and will explore the trade market for upgrades.
They are casting a wide net in their search as they are bringing in Chinanu Onuaku, a former second-round pick that is fresh off winning Israeli League State Cup MVP, for a workout later this month. Could Onuaku solve the Mavericks center issues?
Dallas Mavericks to workout Chinanu Onuaku: Could he solve their center woes?
Onuaku was drafted in the second round in 2016, but he played just 74 NBA minutes over two seasons before being let go. The 6’10 big man played a few games in the G League before heading overseas for the 2019-2020 season. This year over 34 games, Onuaku averaged 16.1 points, 9.9 rebounds. 2.8 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.2 blocks in 27.1 minutes per game.
He was Bnei Herzelia’s starting center as they took home the Israeli League championship with Onuaku winning Finals MVP. The 25-year-old has won a lot of games over his last three pro seasons, and he helped Team USA bring home the gold medal at the Under-19 World Championships in 2015. The 6’10 big man is a winner that just keeps getting better.
Oknuaku is likely ready to fill a backup center role in the NBA. He is scheduled to workout with the Raptors, Celtics, and Mavericks before free agency opens. Will he return to the US or explore his options overseas? Onuaku has a big body that can control the paint, but fans should not expect him to be a game-changer in the NBA.
Will the Dallas Mavericks sign Chinanu Onuaku? His workout will matter as the team is light on roster spots and searching to improve their talent and depth around superstar Luka Doncic. The Mavs need to try to find undervalued big men in the market, and Onuaku could be just that. Stay tuned to see where he lands this summer.