Mavericks in bad spot and must take chances: Why it could send them into a rebuild

Dallas Mavericks,  Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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The Dallas Mavericks have worked themselves into an unenviable position. Luka Doncic is on pace to be an all-time great player, but having an unquestioned superstar in his prime places a burden on the franchise to build a winning roster around him. The Mavs reached the conference finals in 2022, but things quickly fell apart. They lost Jalen Brunson in free agency, failed to upgrade their backcourt, made a series of trades that did not work as planned, and suddenly, Dallas missed the playoffs.

Doncic wants to win above all else, so missing the playoffs puts them in a difficult position. Luka is in year five and the team is fearful of a trade request if they cannot find a way to improve their roster. The Mavericks made a panic trade for Kyrie Irving in February to put a co-star next to him, but it decimated their defense. Dallas won just seven of their final 25 games to miss the playoffs, which all happened after Irving joined the team.

Now, Kyrie is a free agent, the Mavericks need multiple upgrades, and they have limited assets to make them. The franchise is in a sticky situation and taking risks is the only way out of it.

Dallas Mavericks are in a bad spot and have failed to build around Luka Doncic

The Mavs need to re-sign Kyrie Irving this summer or their doomsday scenario is in play. They gave up two starters and three draft picks to acquire him in February, so losing him for nothing would be a disaster. It would be the second year in a row that Dallas lost their second-best player with zero return. That just cannot happen to a franchise hoping to build a contender around a 24-year-old superstar.

Dallas cannot be done there, though. They will not have cap space after re-signing Irving, and the new CBA forces the Mavericks to limit their spending. Dallas must use their exceptions, sign free agents to minimum deals, and make trades to improve their roster. Even on the trade market, the Mavs have limited assets available.