Dallas Mavericks signing 3-and-D wing signaled farewell for fan favorite

Dallas Mavericks, Naji Marshall, Derrick Jones Jr.
Dallas Mavericks, Naji Marshall, Derrick Jones Jr. / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks made their latest key move in the offseason by inking former New Orleans Pelicans swingman Naji Marshall to a three-year deal. The acquisition came several days after the team was rumored to be interested in the two-way forward.

It could turn out to be an underrated signing for the Mavs, as the former undrafted prospect out of Xavier University is a big-bodied wing defender who shot 38.7 percent from 3-point land last season.

He was given the moniker "The Knife" for his versatility and hard work, and hopefully, he can continue bringing that to the table upon joining Dallas.

Dallas Mavericks signing Naji Marshall signaled farewell for Derrick Jones Jr.

Opponents would also have to think twice before punking the Mavs because Marshall looks primed to serve as the squad's enforcer.

Unfortunately, shelling out $9 million a year to bring in Marshall had likely meant saying goodbye to Derrick Jones Jr., who emerged as one of the team's premier perimeter defenders in the last campaign. He also proved to be a 2023 free-agency steal and a fan favorite among the Mavs faithful.

The front office declared him the top priority this offseason, and the fact that he took on the toughest assignments, the most among all NBA players last season, showed why Dallas had to re-sign him at all costs. But as soon as free agency officially commenced, it had become apparent that losing Jones Jr. to another franchise was imminent. So, it probably made sense why the Mavs pivoted to a younger and potentially cheaper Marshall.

Recent news has shown that "Airplane Mode" has indeed taken off and is flying to a different Western Conference contender, the LA Clippers. More than two months after posting 8.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game against and hounding the stars of the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs, he has reportedly agreed to join them on a three-year, $30 million deal.

Some might be wondering if it would turn out to be worth it for the Mavs to let go of Jones Jr. and replace him with Marshall when they could have likely afforded to retain their erstwhile starting forward for just $1 million more every year. However, it's likely that the organization is trying to be as financially flexible as possible and free up a spot in the starting lineup in anticipation of an even bigger move in the coming days.

While it's sad to see Jones Jr. go, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about Marshall's arrival and the possible additions this summer.

Catch up on the latest about Naji Marshall and the Dallas Mavericks by staying tuned with us.