Dream Signing: Dallas Mavericks
Ever since they won the title in 2011, the Mavericks have been mired in mediocrity. They’ve tried to make the most of the end of Dirk’s career, but all they have to show for it are a few first round exits and the bloated contracts of Harrison Barnes and Wes Matthews. However, after scoring Dennis Smith Jr. and my adopted son, Luka Doncic, in the past two drafts, their post-Dirk future is finally starting to take shape. They could accelerate their rebuild this summer by adding restricted free agent, Clint Capela, to their young backcourt to create an exciting core moving forward.
The Mavericks have been looking for a center ever since they let Tyson Chandler go after their championship run. They dallied with DeAndre Jordan, got some nookie with Nerlens Noel, and even got cheeky with Chandler again. None of them lasted though; they were all just flippant flings (or just a tantalizing tease in Jordan’s case.) A rim-running rim protector was always the ideal fit next to Dirk. But, even with his imminent retirement, the Mavs can still sign probably the best fit of that archetype in the league.
Clint Capela broke out in his fourth year for the Rockets averaging 13.9 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks on a league-leading 65% shooting. He proved to be the perfect pick and roll partner for Chris Paul and James Harden with his dives to the rim providing optimal spacing for Houston’s 3-point shooters. Capela also anchored Houston’s top-ten defense. He’s exactly the type of player the Mavericks have been looking for.
Some people may say that Capela’s value may be inflated by the system and the ball handlers he got to play with. That may be true, but if anyone can replicate some of the pick and roll magic that Capela had with Paul and Harden, it’s Doncic. Capela would satisfy Cuban’s incessant need to win now by providing current value, and he’s also young enough to grow with Smith Jr. and Doncic.
The only hang-up with this pairing is that Capela is a restricted free agent. Houston will likely match any offer that he gets. But, with a Chris Paul ready for a new contract and Harden locked into a super-max deal, Houston will have to think long and hard about paying max money to a third player (especially if they’re trying to make room for LeBron.) Dallas could really screw with their in-state rival’s cap sheet by signing Capela to a max deal worth $25 million. Houston would either have to match it and dive deep into the luxury tax, or Dallas would finally have the marquee big man they’ve coveted for years.
All stats courtesy of basketball-reference.com