In the middle of the 2021/22 season Mavericks — still below .500 in 35 games — looks to be on track for another mid-level playoff berth and an early exit from the postseason. However, the fate of Dallas changed for the better when the team decided to abandon Kristaps Porzingis experiment by sending him to DC along with a second round pick in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie as well as Davis Bertans at the time of the deal.
The move caused bewilderment in the basketball world, given that Dinwiddie and Bertans had costly multi-year contracts and the Wizards had years of bad luck. The fact that the Mavericks couldn’t get more for the often-injured Porzingis was a sign of how much his stock has fallen since Dallas acquired him from New York in 2019.
But the Mavs acknowledged that, in addition to being healthier than Porzingis, Dinwiddie and Bertans were better suited to the rotation, providing the sort of play and outside shots that complemented perfectly. Luka Doncic. Two veterans, especially Dinwiddie, bounced back and played a key role in the Mavs’ strong finish — the team posted the second-best record in the NBA (20-7) from Deadline Day onwards.
The Mavs’ success carried over into the postseason, where they swept the Utah and Phoenix in the first two rounds before facing the eventual champion Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. It was the deepest play-off the club had made since winning the title in 2011 and came just at the right time as Doncic’s second contract was due to come into effect in 2022/23. More steps will need to be taken around the perennial MVP candidate to solidify Dallas’ position as a true contender for the title, but this year’s success has shown that things are moving in the right direction.
Mavericks plan for the off-season:
The Mavericks have already made what will be one of the biggest moves of their summer by agreeing to send the 26th pick in this year’s draft and four spares (Sterling Brown, Boban Marjanovic, Marquis Crissas well as Trey Burke) to Houston in exchange for a big man Christian Wood.
Wood has established himself as one of the most talented scorers and rebounders in the NBA frontcourt in recent years, averaging 19.1 points per game and 9.9 rebounds on .507/.384/.626 shooting in his 109 games for the Rockets. However, his defensive limitations, lingering temper issues, and contract situation (he will become an unrestricted free agent in 2023) prevented Houston from trading him for anything more than a late first-round pick and salary filler.
The Wood trade, which could become official once the Mavericks formally select a player on behalf of the Rockets on June 23, will do two things for Dallas.
First, it gives the Mavs an all-around forward offensive threat that they lost when they traded Porzingis. Both Wood and Porzingis can hit long shots, but Porzingis had a tendency to rely on strikeouts and middle range shots more than Dallas might have liked, while most of Wood’s two-point attempts come on the rim, making him a better choice. . Doncic’s partner. Considering what he brings to offense, the Mavs will be happy to get even average defensive performance from Wood.
The four-for-one trade will also give Dallas extra off-season flexibility. Prior to the trade deal with Houston, the Mavs had a 14-player contract for next season and wanted to re-sign. Jalen Brunson take 15th place on the list. Now, even if Brunson is re-signed, the club will have at least three vacancies in its 15-man roster.
Speaking of Brunson, his free agency will be the most important issue for the Mavs this offseason, especially now that the team has bolstered their frontcourt by agreeing to trade Wood. Brunson has steadily improved in each of his four NBA seasons, posting 16.3 points per game and 4.8 assists on .502/.373/.840 shooting in the 2021-22 regular season, and then increased his scoring average to 21 .6 points per game in the playoffs. .
It’s safe to say that Brunson will receive a four-year contract at least Fred VanVliet/Malcolm Brogdon/Lonzo Ball range (80-85 million dollars). The question is how much higher the stakes can be, given that teams like the Knicks and Pistons are interested in tearing the point guard away from Dallas. The Mavs own the Brunson Bird rights and can go the extra mile if they need to, but they will pay a fine for every extra dollar they spend as their team’s salary will exceed the luxury tax threshold even without Brunson in books.
Team owner Mark Cuban not the type to save a dime and let Brunson go to save money, so I’d be surprised if the point guard doesn’t come back to the Mavs next season. There are other players on the list, including Dinwiddie ($20.2 million), Tim Hardaway Jr. ($19.6 million), Bertans ($16 million) and Dwight Powell ($11.1 million), whose contracts could be bought if Dallas deems it necessary to keep the payroll under control.
Of course, the downside to this argument is that the Mavs probably won’t be able to move players like Dinwiddie, Hardaway, Bertans and Powell for anything really valuable, and they might have to attach assets to a couple of them for exchange. them at all. Meanwhile, a signed and traded deal involving Brunson could yield one or two legitimate assets, with Dinwiddie giving Dallas a fallback as point guard. While these are good reasons to at least consider the idea of signing and trading, I don’t expect Brunson to be redundant on this Mavs list.
As for how the team should fill in their final spots in the roster, Theo Pinson considered a strong candidate for a promotion from his two-way deal to a standard contract, and the Mavs will reportedly explore the idea of signing Goran Dragicadding another intriguing layer to the negotiations with Brunson.
Maxi Kleber as well as Frank Ntilikina have insecure salaries for 2022/23 and it will be interesting to see if the Mavs decide to part ways with any of the players. Kleber may have had his worst year as a pro last season, but has been a solid rotation in Dallas for most of the last five seasons, while Ntilikin’s defensive ability makes him a worthy investment for his price ($2.04 million). ). Even if they are both guaranteed a salary, their contracts are expiring and they can trade chips in the off-season or at the 23rd year deadline.
If Kléber and Ntilikina return and the Mavs are sure of Hardaway’s health and Josh Greenability to play on a regular basis, the club could target one more frontcourt player to fill the roster. Defensive center to help Wood and Powell level up Nicola Yokis the world would make some sense. Another wing wouldn’t hurt either.
The situation with the salary cap
Note. Our salary cap numbers are based on the league’s latest forecast ($122M) for 2022/23.
- Luka Doncic ($36,600,000) one
- Spencer Dinwiddie ($20,171,427)
- Tim Hardaway Jr. ($19,602,273)
- Davis Bertans ($16,000,000)
- Christian Wood ($14,317,459) 2
- Dorian Finney-Smith ($12,402,000)
- Dwight Powell ($11,080,125)
- Reggie Bullock ($10,012,800)
- Josh Green ($3,098,400)
- Total: $143,284,484
Restricted free agents
Bilateral free agents
Players eligible for renewal
Note. These are players who are either already eligible for an extension or will become eligible before the start of the 2022/23 season.
- Maxi Kleber (veteran)
- Dwight Powell (veteran)
Unlimited free agents / other restrictions
With $143M+ already committed to nine guaranteed contracts, the Mavericks plan to top their projected $149M tax line even if they fill their roster with minimum-wage players. Kleber’s salary guarantee and Brunson’s re-signing would boost the Dallas team’s salary. path beyond this threshold.
Exceptions to restrictions available
- Exception for the mid-tier taxpayer: $6,392,000 6
- Trade exception: $10,865,952
- Doncic’s salary will be 30% of the salary cap. If the limit is above or below $122 million, that figure will be adjusted up or down.
- The Mavericks-to-Wood trade cannot be officially finalized until draft night.
- Kleber’s salary will be fully guaranteed after July 3rd.
- Ntilikina’s salary will be fully guaranteed after July 4.
- The cap for Redick and Mellie remains in the Mavericks books from previous seasons because they weren’t discarded. They cannot be used in a sign and trade deal.
- This is the predicted value. Instead, the Mavericks can access the full mid-tier exemption ($10,349,000) if they stay below the tax bracket.