It’s been a great offseason for the Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks have had a great offseason in 2023. It’s worth saying, and it’s worth repeating, out loud if necessary.

I still remember that feeling on June 21, 2018, the night of that NBA Draft when the Dallas Mavericks drafted Luka Doncic. I had just gotten out of an early evening practice, and I had left my phone in the car, and returning to Marc Stein with warnings that Dallas was trading with the intention of selecting Doncic was one of the angriest moments in my sports fandom . The Mavericks had decreased in the draw, they go their guy anyway. I had a feeling he would soon become a star one day.

Fast forward to the next five years, which included three playoff runs (one to the Western Conference Finals) and most recently a trip to the NBA lottery after an insanely disappointing 2022-23 campaign. During those seasons, I have been consistently critical of the decisions made by two different front offices. Despite their success in the 2021-22 season, most off-seasons have left a lot to be desired. In 2019, Dallas looked too far down the road, hoping to eventually pair Giannis Antetokounmpo with Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. The 2020 offseason and the trade for Josh Richardson didn’t go as planned. In the 2022 offseason, Jalen Brunson was lost for nothing and JaVale McGee was signed.

After a painful 2022-23 season, the Mavericks needed things sorted out. The problem was that they just didn’t have many paths to success. They were there, yes, but when they started with just the 10th pick in the draft, it felt like the Mavericks were boxed in by their own history. I wanted Dallas to draft the best player on the market and see what happened from there.

We all know what happened next, but it’s worth revisiting all these moves.

  • Dallas traded up from 10th to 12th and selected Cason Wallace to the Oklahoma City Thunder and had them select Dereck Lively II. They also moved Davis Bertans to the Thunder and picked up a TPE along the way. Lively fills a long-term need at the center position for Dallas.
  • The Mavericks traded into the first round and absorbed center Richaun Holmes from the Sacramento Kings at the cost of their first round pick. Dallas then had Sacramento select Olivier-Maxence Prosper, taking him out from under Boston Celtics. The winger fills an absolute need for the team, giving them flexibility in several positions.
  • At the start of free agency, the Mavericks agreed to terms with All-Star guard Kyrie Irving on a three-year, $120 million deal (player option in year three, plus incentives based on wins and the game). The contract received some criticism nationally (and I noted my confusion about the deal), but by and large it makes sense compared to what Dallas gave up to secure Irving in the February trade.
  • Seth Curry agreed to his third contract with the Dallas Mavericks, a two-year deal worth about $4 million each season.
  • Dwight Powell agreed to another contract with the Dallas Mavericks, this one a three-year deal worth around $12 million.
  • Former first-round pick Dante Exum agreed to terms with Dallas, a bit of a deal, but he’s played well overseas, improved his shot, put on some weight and generally looks like a different player than his first stint in NBA.
  • Dallas participated in a three-team trade with the Boston Celtics and san antonio tracks, which eventually gave Grant Williams a new four-year deal worth $54 million as well as two second-round picks at the expense of Reggie Bullock and a 2030 pick swap, each going to San Antonio. Williams is a great connector and helps Dallas in a variety of ways on both sides of the ball.

It’s a long list that far exceeds my best case scenario when you look at the team when the season ended in April. It’s even more remarkable when you consider that as recently as February, the Mavericks still featured five rotation pieces who also got regular minutes in the 2018-19 season. As Josh wrote last week, the team is finally moving forward. And I have a strong feeling they’re not done yet, considering Dallas still has all the mid-level exceptions to use and there are some logjams at guard, especially at the guard spots.

It is difficult to predict whether these moves will pan out and improve the team’s results this season. But given the alternatives and, frankly, some of the bleak forecasts that we made in the latter half of the season, this offseason is a resounding success. It gives me confidence and hope that the 2023-2024 season will be a good one and as a fan it’s a really great set of emotions.

The Dallas Mavericks front office, that combination of Nico Harrison, Michael Finley, Mark Cuban, Jason Kidd and all the other members have done a great job and I can’t wait for the season to start.

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