The Mavericks will introduce their newest players in a few hours. Leading up to that, here’s a breakdown of how the Mavericks are set up for the future.
First of all, it’s hard not to be fired up about this trade for Kristaps Porzingis and three other solid players.
The Mavericks dealt for a 23-year-old All-Star who could be a perfect fit with Luka Doncic for a decade or more.
We will assume, for the moment, that Porzingis will return to his 22-point, 7-rebound, 2.4-block self. That doesn’t mean there isn’t risk for the Mavericks in this trade. But the bottom line is they traded Dennis Smith Jr. and two future first-round draft picks for Porzingis and three other former New York Knicks who are solid players.
Neither Wesley Matthews nor DeAndre Jordan was expected to return next season, so while their salary cap for this summer and beyond has been compromised, it’s clear that proprietor Mark Cuban spoke the truth when he said a few weeks back that the Mavericks weren’t afraid to take back salary now – for the right deal.
Essentially, they got their free agent last week instead of waiting until July.
Nobody can be 100-percent positive that Porzingis will return in great shape and great health to resume his meteoric career path. Ensuring that becomes the top job priority now for athletic trainer Casey Smith and the medical team.
But this is the value of having a 19-year-old superstar-in-the-making in Doncic. It allows you to take risks.
Smart risks, in this case.
The Mavericks, as Cuban likes to day, will always be opportunistic. The fallout of the trade has brought with it indications from around the league that some teams weren’t aware that Porzingis was on the block. The Mavericks knew it and jumped.
Do the Knicks know something the Mavericks don’t? Maybe.
But there’s also is a strong likelihood that the Mavericks will get Porzingis’ anterior cruciate ligament 100 percent and then they will have a 7-3 monster to pair with Doncic.
If other free agents don’t see the potential there, then shame on them and their agents.
What remains to be seen is how that will impact this year’s Mavericks. They have a load of free-agents-to-be, including Porzingis. But he’s the only one of those who are free this summer who is expected to break the bank.
Meanwhile, what will the rest of this season look like? It’s clearly not the Mavericks’ No. 1 priority, but winning games is always more fun than losing and they have no reason not to make whatever playoff run they can down the stretch, regardless of how unlikely the playoffs might be. It’s a long shot. But not impossible.
Think of the value of Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr. and a lot of other players on this squad making the playoffs, in Doncic’s case for the first time.
That experience would be invaluable.
But playoffs or not, what we know for sure is that the Mavericks have gone all in on the next few seasons. They have two young star-level players who may be superstar-level players before long.
Remember, going into the 2012-13 season, nobody thought a whole lot of the Golden State Warriors, who won 23 games the year before. They ended up winning 47 games that season and reached the second round of the playoffs. And we all know what’s happened when they became the darlings of the NBA.
That sort of growth is what the Mavericks are hoping for.