Mavericks have tough decision to make with fan-favorite veteran

Dallas Mavericks, Markieff Morris
Dallas Mavericks, Markieff Morris / Justin Ford/GettyImages

With the Dallas Mavericks season officially ending on Monday night in their Game 5 loss to the Boston Celtics, the team and fans will look to shift their focus on this coming offseason. Despite a gut-wrenching loss in the NBA Finals, fans still have plenty to hold their head up high on after a season that saw the team make major steps in the direction of winning a championship in the Luka Doncic era.

With the team needing to make crucial moves to get back into championship contention, this will officially mark the first time in over two decades that former owner Mark Cuban will not be at the forefront of trade-making decisions

One of the first potential moves that Dallas’ new owners could make, could be to deal Tim Hardaway Jr. after a disappointing season. In tandem with Hardaway Jr., Mavericks' longtime vet Maxi Kleber could be on the trade block after numerous scary injuries this past season.

Mavericks have tough decision to make with Markieff Morris

As trade talks and roster moves headline the Mavericks' offseason, Dallas could have a tough decision to make when it comes to fan-favorite forward Markieff Morris. Morris was brought to Dallas alongside superstar Kyrie Irving during the 2022-23 trade deadline and was simply included as a sweetener to add depth to a Mavericks roster deprived of wings and forwards at the time.

While Morris saw little to no playing time when he was first brought in, Dallas saw value where many other teams didn't with Morris. The Mavericks understood that Morris' days of nailing threes and being a stout defender were in his past after multiple seasons of riding benches and hopping from city to city on minimum deals. Where the Mavericks saw value in Morris was from his veteran leadership, particularly with younger players on the roster.

After the 2023 season saw the Mavericks obtain the tenth overall pick, Dallas knew their roster would be turning the clock back. With that in mind, the Mavericks knew wasting a roster spot on Morris may not have value on the court, but in the locker room, his presence would be felt every day. Morris would then sign a one-year veteran minimum contract with Dallas for that very reason.

The Mavericks not only weren't wrong with how valuable Morris has become in the locker room, but Morris has also become a fan favorite in the process. Plenty of times throughout the regular season, fans would catch Morris sharing a laugh with Luka Doncic on the bench or pulling him aside to dissect a play from a third-person point of view.

As the Mavericks look to retool around Doncic and Irving to make another run marginally, Morris' value in the locker room could be overridden by team needs. While it may be hard for some fans to realize at the time, Morris' value in the league and on the Mavs may not be of utmost importance if it came down to signing a player who could produce in a winning fashion.

Morris has had plenty of amazing moments in Dallas which include plenty of locker room stories, but after the Mavericks fell short of their goal to the Celtics, they may look to turn Morris' roster spot into a player who can contribute on the court.

Dallas has a tough decision to make with Morris, and either way, it's not going to be easy. They'll either re-sign him, and he'll nearly be unplayable as he was last year, or they'll let him walk and sign a player who fills a hole in their roster.

They already have a veteran leader who can't really play real minutes in Dwight Powell, and keeping Morris or letting him walk will be a much bigger decision than people realize.