The Dallas Mavericks lost the biggest free agent to change teams this summer when Jalen Brunson left to join the New York Knicks on a four-year deal worth more than $100 million. Dallas had plenty of chances to bring back Brunson, and their leadership deserves all the blame for his departure.
President of basketball operations and general manager Nico Harrison improve the roster around Luka Doncic, despite losing out on Brunson. He traded for Christian Wood, sign JaVale McGee, and drafted Jaden Hardy. The Mavs focused on improving their frontcourt and rebounding after being dominated on the glass in the postseason.
ESPN’s Kevin Pelton handed out his offseason grades (subscription required) for the Western Conference on Aug. 4, and the Mavericks received the worst mark. Losing Brunson hurt, but was their offseason worthy of a D so far?
Dallas Mavericks receive worst mark in Kevin Pelton’s offseason grades
Pelton dropped Dallas for failing to re-sign Brunson, and rightfully so. The Mavs lost their second-best player and got nothing in return. It was shocking that Dallas did not at least give up a second-round pick to create a trade exception. Instead, the Mavericks decided to keep their picks and let him walk.
Dallas needed to improve at the five, and they did. JaVale McGee can play ten to 15 minutes per game in the playoffs, and he will protect the rim and rebound. Christian Wood must step up his defense, but he has all the tools to be an impactful addition. Wood has never played in the playoffs, so will that motivate him to play his best basketball?
The Dallas Mavericks did not deserve a D grade or the worst mark in the conference. Saying the Lakers earned a B-minus, and the Mavs were significantly worse makes little sense. Yes, the Mavs lost Brunson, but Los Angeles signed Troy Brown Jr, Juan Toscano-Anderson, and Lonnie Walker IV. Christian Wood and JaVale McGee are superior players, and the Lakers failed to deal with their biggest offseason issue too.
ESPN's NBA Today crew was not a fan of the Mavericks grade either. Fans can hear their takes below.
It was disappointing to see Jalen Brunson walk in free agency, but the Mavericks did not have the worst offseason in the Western Conference.
They are not done either. Nico Harrison is still working the phones and searching for a trade that further upgrades their roster. Will he find a deal before training camp begins in late September? Stay tuned to find out.