Mavericks' heartbreaking Finals loss may have signaled the end for beloved veteran

Dallas Mavericks, Maxi Kleber, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Maxi Kleber, Luka Doncic / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

With the Dallas Mavericks losing to the Boston Celtics in five games during the NBA Finals, it officially marks the beginning of a new offseason for Dallas.

While the Mavericks have a lot to hold their head up high on including the progression of rookie phenom Dereck Lively II, it's clear the team will need to make some changes around the margins to get back in championship contention.

Despite an amazing season that saw plenty of ups and downs, many fans likely saw a couple of Mavs last games in a Dallas uniform. One player who could have had his last moment in a Mavs uniform after Game 5's heartbreaking loss in Boston was Tim Hardaway Jr. While Hardaway Jr. started the season off great, his finish will likely go down as one of the biggest disappointments in Mavs history.

Finals loss may have signaled the end of Maxi Kleber's time with Mavericks

Another Maverick who could have seen his last playing time in Dallas was veteran Maxi Kleber. Throughout the regular season and the beginning of the playoffs, Kleber played a significant role in bringing a smaller look to the offense and the ability to space the floor with his above-average 3-point shooting. Kleber hasn't always been known as a player who can make the three-ball at a consistent clip, but he proved his worth at the right time.

Unfortunately for Kleber, he suffered a gruesome shoulder injury that kept him sidelined for the whole second round of the playoffs and the beginning of the Conference Finals. To make matters worse, Kleber never fully returned to his pre-injury self and it was clear to fans that Kleber's confidence never fully came back after returning from his lengthy shoulder injury.

On many occasions, Kleber would pass up wide-open looks from behind the arc after his injury. It got so bad that in the Mavericks final game of the season, Kleber passed out of a wide-open layup under the basket in the Finals.

While Kleber had plenty of highs during the Mavericks' historic playoff run, it may be time for Dallas to move on from the aging veteran. Fans who are familiar with Kleber's game, have fallen in love with his sneaky athleticism when blocking shots and his ability to stretch the floor, and after his injury, this hasn't been the case.

With an aging veteran headlining your small ball lineups, it may be time for Dallas to move on from Kleber's unfavorable contract. As it stands, Kleber is entering the second year of a contract extension he signed with Dallas in the 2022 offseason that saw him make around 11 million a year. If Dallas can flip Kleber's contract into a positive asset or a salary dump, it may be in their best interest if they wish to re-sign Derrick Jones Jr.

Dallas will need to make many hard decisions this offseason, which unfortunately means Kleber's time in Dallas could be coming to an end. Kleber has spent seven seasons with the franchise, so this may be a tough roster move for Dallas to make. He has been a key piece in Dallas for a long time with his switchability on defense and shooting, but it may be time for the Mavs to move on.

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