The first official move by the Mavericks after the free-agent moratorium period ended on Saturday was to sign veteran big man Dwight Powell to a contract extension.
Not a bad way to celebrate his birthday early, since Powell turns 28 on July 20.
Powell had an option year remaining on his four-year deal signed before the 2016-17 season. He elected to opt-in on that fourth year and the Mavericks agreed to extend the deal, widely reported to be for three more seasons.
The 6-11 Powell is coming off his most productive season, averaging career-bests of 10.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 21.6 minutes per game. He also shot 59.7 percent from the field, also a career high. He played in 77 games, 22 of them starts. He was particularly effective in the second half of the season.
Powell is expected to be an important part of the big-man rotation for the Mavericks, manning the front line with Kristaps Porzingis, Maxi Kleber and Boban Marjanovic, assuming those players make their pending agreements official with the Mavericks.
Given that Powell has had success at either starting or coming off the bench, he should fit well with that group.
In addition, he has probably the highest motor of any of the Mavericks’ big men and that energy, whether as a starter or a backup, has been a major asset to the team through the years.
The Toronto native came to the Mavericks in the Rajon Rondo trade on Dec. 18, 2014. His play on the court not only has improved every season, he also has become a tireless fixture working within the community and was a finalist for the NBA’s season-long Community Assist Award.
His “Night of Hope” fundraiser yielded more than $600,000 for the Dwight Powell Children and Family Support Fund.
Powell’s extension does not impact the Mavericks’ ability to sign other free agents this summer as he remains on the same salary-cap number for the upcoming season.