The Dallas Mavericks Will Win the Championship in the Next 5 Years.
God bless Mark Cuban. If you’re ever lucky enough to play in the NBA, you want Mark Cuban to be the owner of your team. You know why James Harden didn’t stay in Oklahoma City? Because owner Clay Bennett didn’t want to pay the luxury tax, to his credit he learned his lesson and since 2015-16 the Thunder have been in the top 3 highest payrolls in the NBA. Mark Cuban wouldn’t have thought twice and is a regular payee of the luxury tax. Some owners in the NBA bought a team to make themselves more money, it’s an investment. Mark Cuban bought the Mavericks because he loves basketball. Would you prefer a boss that wants to make money with you or a boss that wants to make money off you?
The Mavericks have been bad these past few years in spite of Mark Cuban. He signed Wesley Matthews to a 4-year, 70 million dollar deal, Harrison Barnes to a 4-year, 94 million dollar deal, and this past summer he signed DeAndre Jordan to a 1-year, 22 million dollar contract. You don’t spend that type of money and expect your team to be drafting in the lottery.
Luckily for Mavericks fans they have been drafting in the lottery, selecting Dennis Smith Jr. 9th overall in the 2017 draft and Luka Doncic 5th overall in the 2018 draft. Neither player is a true point guard although both were listed as such before their respective drafts. They’re just good basketball players.
A lot of teams with good backcourts play a “your turn, my turn” style of offense. The Oklahoma City Thunder are a perfect example of this. When Westbrook handles the ball, Paul George stands in the corner and watches, when George handles the ball, Westbrook stands in the corner and watches. Does that sound like the type of offense built to win in the playoffs? Does that sound like the Golden State Warriors?
No. Steph Curry is constantly moving when he doesn’t have the ball, setting on-ball screens, off-ball screens, that’s what made the Warriors so dangerous even before Kevin Durant. Both Doncic and Smith Jr. do these things. When they don’t have the basketball they’re doing the little things, trying to get open, setting screens for their teammates. The backcourt in Dallas is set.
I have a plan for the Mavericks.
The bad contracts have turned into good contracts. Both Matthews and Jordan are on expiring deals, perfect for teams trying to contend for an NBA title. They make their team better while maintaining flexibility in the upcoming offseason. The Houston Rockets and DeAndre Jordan reportedly have mutual interest. If the Rockets were prepared to give up 4 first round picks for Jimmy Butler would they give one for Jordan?
Even if they don’t, there is a team that will. Get what you can for Matthews. If that’s nothing, at least he’ll be off the books next summer. Jordan and Matthews combine to make 50 million dollars. The Mavericks are paying 103 million dollars total to the players on their roster.
Mark Cuban needs to resist pulling out his cheque book next summer for my plan to work. The Mavs look like they’ll be picking in the lottery again at the 2019 NBA draft. Going into the 2019/20 season Dallas would have about 50 million dollars in cap space, Doncic, Smith Jr., whoever they selected in the lottery, and either another player in the first round or an extra first round draft pick down the road (remember we traded DeAndre Jordan).
Now it’s the 2019/20 season. Barnes is on an expiring deal. Flip him for another first round pick. The Mavs probably won’t make the playoffs again in 2020, which means another lottery pick in the 20’ draft and potentially two more picks in the first round (the ones you got for Jordan and Barnes). In the summer of 2020 the Mavericks will have 100 million dollars in cap space, Doncic will have 3 more seasons left on his rookie deal, and Smith Jr. will have two. Not to mention your own draft picks, likely both in the lottery, and the two first rounders you got for Barnes and Jordan. Future looks bright in Dallas.
I play too much NBA 2K GM mode. Let’s go back to the real world. If Cuban can resist spending money this upcoming summer, in the summer of 2020 GM of the Dallas Mavericks Donnie Nelson is going to have options. Maybe he uses their cap space to sign one, or even two marquee free agents. Maybe they use some combination of their draft picks and young players to acquire a superstar player via trade. One way or another the Mavs are poised to become one of the best teams in the NBA. They already have two young stars, they’re about to have a lot of cap space , and they have an owner willing to spend money to make sure his team is as good as it can possibly be.
The Dallas Mavericks will win The Championship within 5 years.