16 Players the Dallas Mavericks gave up on way too soon

Dallas Mavericks, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash
Dallas Mavericks, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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The Dallas Mavericks are looking to win their second title in franchise history. They rewarded Dirk Nowitzki’s loyalty by building a championship roster around him in 2011, and the franchise is hoping to duplicate that feat with Luka Doncic. It has not always been smooth sailing, but the Mavs are committed to finding a way to win it around their current international superstar.

During Dirk’s heyday, the Mavericks struggled to land targets in free agency and frequently churned their roster. It resulted in a championship, but there were plenty of errors and blunders along the way, including letting a future Hall of Famer walk in free agency.

The Dallas Mavericks have not always practiced patience and trust in their talent, and it often comes back to bite them. It just happened again with the departure of Jalen Brunson to New York, but who are the team’s other biggest blunders?

Players Dallas Mavericks gave up on way too soon:

16. Harrison Barnes

The Mavs' straight salary dumped Barnes in Feb. 2019. It was Luka Doncic’s rookie season, and the franchise had just acquired Kristaps Porzingis. They were worried that Barnes would opt into his $25.1 million player option for the 2019-2020 season, which would limit the team’s flexibility in building around their two young stars, so Dallas moved on from the 6’8 forward after two and a half years.

The problem was Barnes became the exact 3-and-D option in Sacramento that the Mavericks were searching for, and Dallas got back Zach Randolph and Justin Jackson, who played a combined 1,576 minutes for the Mavs. To his credit, Barnes has never played fewer than 2,000 minutes in a season over his 11-year career.

Harrison Barnes got a four-year $85 million contract extension from the Kings, but the Dallas Mavericks needed his production. He is a strong shooter, playmaker, scorer, and defender, which would have fit fantastically next to Luka Doncic if the Mavs would have given them time to develop chemistry.

The Mavericks traded the 26-year-old for a minimal return and watched him thrive in Sacramento, but it was far from the only time that Dallas gave up on a talented player far too soon.