DALLAS — Not so fast, my friend.
Last week, after the Dallas Mavericks failed to move up in the NBA Lottery while locking them into the 13th pick in next month’s draft, rumors began to circulate that proprietor Mark Cuban and the front office would trade out of the selection in an effort to free up salary cap space for pending free agency.
In an interview Saturday with ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM, however, Cuban made it clear that no decision has been made in regard to which direction the Mavericks will go in as the draft quickly approaches.
“It depends on what kind of offers we get,” Cuban said. “Everyone talks about this being a weak draft, so it depends on who falls to No. 13. We’re not going to make the decision way in advance.”
With just six players signed going into next season and the draft four weeks away, the Mavericks could certainly use the pick to add to an empty roster. That being said, Cuban has made it clear that the Mavs will do whatever it takes to be a major player come July 1 when free agency gets underway, looking to use the team’s financial flexibility to lure a big name to Big D. That may lead Cuban and the Mavs to dealing the pick should a Day 1 contributor not fall in their lap at No. 13.
However, according to Cuban, we’ll just have to wait to find out for sure.
“If we like the person at 13, we’ll keep it and we’ll figure something out elsewhere to free up cap space to get there,” he explained, “but that’ll be an option for us. If our guy doesn’t get there, we’ll look at trading it. … If a guy falls, we’ll be happy to take him and figure out how to work the cap. If no one wants to make a trade for whatever reason, we can maybe get a guy to stash overseas somewhere. If we put him overseas and he doesn’t play, he won’t count against our cap. There are so many different options, and we’ll explore them all.”
The Mavs haven’t selected in the lottery since taking Etan Thomas with the 12th selection in 2000, which coincidentally was also the last time the franchise failed to make the playoffs before this season. But, after president of basketball operations and GM Donnie Nelson joined coach Rick Carlisle two weeks ago in Chicago for the NBA combine, the Mavericks’ brass may have gotten a clearer illustration of the talent pool in this year’s draft.
“You know, if you look at the history of drafts, which I have in the last couple of weeks, and if you look at the last 10 drafts, there’s a history of being multiple guys 13 and below that turn out to be really good, solid, long-term NBA players. So, you know, there’s value in this draft. Our job is to find it,” Carlisle foreshadowed.