At the suspension of the 2019-2020 NBA season, the Dallas Mavericks had a record of 40-27 which placed them at 7th in the Western Conference and 11th in the league. Other than OKC, the Mavericks are the most surprising playoff team this year led by their star duo, Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Doncic had taken an incredible leap forward in just his second season putting up close to MVP numbers and putting himself firmly into most improved player conversations. His incredible offensive talent has led the Mavericks to have the best offense in NBA history. Porzingis has made an impressive recovery after missing over a season due to injury. In his first season with the Mavericks, he has become more and more impactful on both ends of the court and his chemistry with Doncic only improved as the season has worn on. It is important that the Mavericks show patience this offseason and do not do anything to jeopardise their 2021 offseason where they are setting up to sign a third star to the team. They will focus on keeping their current team together and drafting well without taking up cap space for next offseason.
Currently, the Dallas Mavericks have 10 players with guaranteed contracts for the 2020-2021 season. They have two players with options for next season. Tim Hardaway Jr has a player option worth $19 million for next season which he is expected to opt into. Hardaway Jr has had a strong season for the Mavericks and is fitting in well with the team. He is expected to be offered a long-term contract extension with Dallas in the future and it is unlikely he would be offered a larger salary on the open market, so it makes sense to stay with the team. Willie Cauley-Stein has a $2.2 million player option for next season which I expect him to opt out of. Cauley-Stein has not had the opportunity to play a large role since being traded to the Mavericks, sharing the center minutes with Porzingis, Powell and Marjanovic, and is unable to space the floor which makes him a poor fit for the team. This along with the weak free agency class leads me to believe that he will try his luck on the open market. Cauley-Stein can be a valuable center for a team and should be able to earn himself a longer-term contract worth quite a bit more than his player option. The Mavericks have 2 two-way players entering restricted free agency in Antonius Cleveland and Josh Reaves. The team’s unrestricted free agents are Courtney Lee, J.J. Barea and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Dallas will enter free agency with no cap space, but they will have a $9.2 million mid-level exception available to them.
Depth Chart –
The Dallas Mavericks are a playoff team that is looking to add one more star to become a real contender however they would be better off being patient and waiting until the stacked 2021 free agency period as Luka will still be on his cheap rookie contract. For the 2020 offseason, the Mavericks should look to fill out their bench by resigning players and bringing in veterans on cheap deals. They should look to bring back experience veterans, Courtney Lee and J.J. Barea on one-year deals to fill out the shooting guard position and to help young guards like Doncic and Brunson develop further. The Mavericks can also look to bring in a cheap small forward that can help them spread the floor like Jae Crowder. Crowder has had a really positive season especially since joining Miami. On the Mavericks, he can provide some spacing on the wing and boost the team’s overall defence which has been their main point of concern this season.
The Dallas Mavericks have the 18th projected pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. The Mavericks will look to draft with this pick to add a solid piece that will help them save salary cap in the coming seasons. This draft class is predicted to be a relatively weak class however teams can still benefit from adding some of the talent available. With the 18th projected pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Dallas Mavericks should look to draft Aleksej Pokusevski, a 7’0” power forward/center out of Serbia. Pokusevski is a promising big man that can look to spread the floor for the Mavericks with one of the top projected NBA three-point percentage at his position in this draft class. With his height, he can be a strong rebounder and effective rim defender which will help boost the team’s defence off the bench. He does struggle with his overall field goal percentage and turnovers, but this is something that can be improved with NBA experience. He is also quick small despite his height and lacks some strength in the post, but this will be improved if he gets into the gym and hits the weights with the support of the NBA coaches and trainers.
The Dallas Mavericks will enter the 2020 offseason with very few moves to make as they look to save their major signings for the strong 2021 free agency class. They will look to re-sign veteran free agents, Courtney Lee and J.J. Barea to fill out the bench and help their young guards develop as well as potentially signing Jae Crowder to help space the floor and boost their bench defence. In the draft, they should look to sign Aleksej Pokusevski to develop into a strong post defender and floor spacer. If they can sign cheap players and work through the season to clear cap space, they will be building into one of the most exciting teams looking forward, heading into the much anticipated 2021 offseason. If they can show some patience, they will look to make the playoffs again next season and become a contender for years to come.
Projected Depth Chart 2020/21 Season –