The Dallas Mavericks are coming off a very promising season that saw them finish 7th in the Western Conference at 43-32.
Both players are still very young – 21 and 25, respectively.
The Mavericks will want to look to improve on the first round exit they suffered this year without sacrificing the future.
That will leave them with just the full mid-level exception ($9.26 million).
With the potential to clear a max salary slot next offseason, the Mavericks probably will not be looking to sign players to long term deals.
Here are three paths they can explore this offseason.
Trade for a Star
There are reports the Mavericks are looking to trade for a third star this offseason to pair with Doncic and Porzingis.
With little top-level talent on the free agency market, this would be the only way to add a star this offseason.
— SportsDay Mavs (@dmn_mavericks) October 28, 2020
One potential target would be Victor Oladipo.
He has been rumored to be available this offseason.
With only one year left on his contract, he could be a perfect target for Dallas.
Oladipo is only 2 years removed from looking like a potential All-NBA level wing before suffering a serious leg injury.
Trading for Oladipo would fill the Mav’s need for a wing scorer and secondary ball-handler next to Doncic.
They also wouldn’t mortgage future cap space as his deal expires at the end of next season.
Oladipo is only 28 years old and would fit nicely with the timelines of Doncic and Porzingis if things were to work out.
Sign a Veteran Role Player for the MLE
Dallas could also look at signing a veteran for a 1-year deal with their mid-level exception.
It would be tough to do if players are looking for longer contracts, but there could be a few options.
The Mavericks desperately need more depth at the wings, and could also use a defensive-minded big who could rebound the ball.
As it currently stands, the Mavs have Dorian Finney-Smith and Justin Jackson as their two small forwards.
Dallas allowed 49 points in the paint per game last season.
A mark that was 2nd worse among playoff teams, ahead of only Houston.
Outside of Luka and Kristaps, nobody on the team averaged more than 6 rebounds per game.
Three potential targets the Mavs could look at are:
Thompson averages nearly 9 RPG for his career who consistently plays solid defense in the paint.
He would also bring playoff experience from his time with the Cavs.
Tristan would help shore up the interior of the Dallas defense and add another rebounder alongside Luka and Porzingis.
Richard Jefferson is absolutely right. The Mavs will look to add a tough vet or two this offseason. That’s been the plan and this series has reinforced the reasoning. “We need to get some dogs,” one member of the front office told me months ago.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) August 30, 2020
Morris or Crowder would add depth to the wing position.
Morris averages 12 PPG for his career on 37% shooting from 3.
Crowder averages 10 PPG for his career on 34% shooting from 3.
Both players would be able to guard opposing scoring wings and bring toughness to a team that many considered soft last year.
The other option for Dallas is to simply run it back with the team they had and preserve cap space for next year.
Dallas just had the most efficient offense ever recorded in league history at 115.8 points scored per 100 possessions.
With another year of development from both Luka and Kristaps and a full offseason together as a team, Dallas could be more dangerous next year.
As proven by the Portland Trail Blazers, continuity does matter in the NBA.
Chemistry developed over time can make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.
Doing nothing would also ensure Dallas maintains cap flexibility for next offseason.
Free agency will be stacked with talent next year, headlined by mega-star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Mavericks are already rumored to be one of the top teams going after the MVP next offseason.
Giannis and Luka would wreak havoc across the league 😱 pic.twitter.com/pQCvVlTDrC
— Mavs Nation (@MavsNationCP) October 29, 2020
Giannis, Luka, and Porzingis would be a scary sight for opposing teams for years to come.