The Mavericks bolstered their backcourt on Monday, finalizing a trade to acquire four-year veteran Delon Wright from the Memphis Grizzlies for two future second-round draft picks and the draft rights to Satnam Singh.
The 6-5 Wright would have been a restricted free agent, but he agreed to a new contract widely reported to be for three seasons, which enabled the Grizzlies to deal him to the Mavericks in a sign-and-trade rather than going through the process of Wright getting an offer sheet from the Mavs.
The University of Utah product and former Bob Cousy Award winner as the nation’s best collegiate point guard in 2015 has been on a steady upward path in his four NBA seasons.
He started with Toronto, drafted 20th in 2015. His scoring average has gone from 3.8 points per game as a rookie to 5.6 and 8.0 in his three seasons with the Raptors.
Last season, he started in Toronto, but was part of the package the Raptors put together to trade for Marc Gasol from Memphis.
Wright averaged 8.7 points in 75 games last season, but in the final 26 games after joining Memphis, he averaged 12.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. He had three triple-doubles in the final four games of the season, including two against the Mavericks.
Early in his NBA career, Wright has not been considered a premier outside shooter. However, it should be noted that his older brother, Dorell, shot 37 percent from 3-point range during the last eight seasons of his NBA career. Clearly, the bloodlines would indicate he has potential in that area.
What Delon Wright does have going for him is a reputation as a stout perimeter defender with long arms, who should be a major part of the backcourt rotation for the Mavericks, along with Luka Doncic, Jalen Brunson, Justin Jackson and the widely reported but as-yet unofficial signing of Seth Curry. The Mavericks also have several of their own free agents that could be in the mix.
Either way, Wright’s defensive skill set is in line with what coach Rick Carlisle likes from his guards and wing players.
Wright battled a shoulder injury in his second season and spent considerable time at the Raptors’ G-League team as a rookie. But in the last two seasons, he’s been a solid member of the backcourt for the Raptors and Grizzlies.
In the final 11 games last season, he averaged 14.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 7.6 assists. He also had 2.3 steals per game during that stretch.
It is unclear whether Wright will slip into a starting role or come off the bench, or maybe fill a mix of both roles. Those issues will be worked out in training camp.
But at 27, he is just entering his prime and gives the Mavericks another rotation piece to fill in around Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis.
Here’s the official news release:
MAVERICKS ACQUIRE GUARD DELON WRIGHT
DALLAS—The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have acquired Delon Wright from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for two future second round draft picks and the draft rights to Satnam Singh.
Wright (6-5, 185) was the 20th overall pick by the Toronto Raptors in the 2015 NBA Draft and has averaged 7.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steal and 19.2 minutes in 198 career games (18 starts) for Toronto and Memphis.
Last season, Wright was traded from Toronto to Memphis, along with Jonas Valanciunas, C.J. Miles and a second round pick, in exchange for three-time All Star Marc Gasol. In 26 games (11 starts) for Memphis, Wright averaged 12.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.6 steals in 30.8 minutes per contest. On April 5, 2019, he recorded his first career triple double when he registered a career-high 26 points along with 14 assists and 10 rebounds in a 122-112 victory over the Mavericks at American Airlines Center.
The Los Angeles native was a standout at the University of Utah after transferring from the City College of San Francisco. In two seasons as a Ute, Wright was twice named All-Pac 12 First Team (2014, 2015). As a senior, he was also named to the All-Pac-12 Defensive Team and was the winner of the 2015 Bob Cousy Award given annually to the nation’s top collegiate point guard.