Dallas Mavericks' Future Outlook

(From Google Images search of "Luka Porzingis")

After discussing what the lottery teams are going to be facing going into the future, it's now time to discuss the postseason teams prematurely. However, I feel that doing this now also explains a bit about what is possibly at stake for teams. Will the Bucks' results actually affect Giannis' decision? If Philly fails, do they trade Embiid or Simmons? Does the small-ball experiment in Houston actually work? All of these are examples for the remaining NBA teams (and the Warriors, who likely will return next season to a much better standard of basketball) and why their future will be impacted by the playoffs.

If you think about it, Dallas hasn't really overachieved if you look at things from the Mavericks' point of view. They believed very highly in Luka Doncic when they selected him third overall last season, and they also believed Kristaps Porzingis would return to be a star as well. I think that it is the casual fan who was more surprised with Dallas, especially with how quickly Luka has taken to become one of the best players in the NBA. Dallas still should be on the rise as well, especially with some of the talent surrounding the two stars. They have no real pressure this postseason, but let's take a look at the future and see what it holds.

WHO'S GONE: SG Courtney Lee, G JJ Barea, C Willie Cauley-Stein, F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Tim Hardaway Jr. also has a player option of $17 million, and I'm not sure how confident he is in his ability to get a contract like that or bigger elsewhere. I'm assuming he'd opt in because I wouldn't pay him that much again, but I'm stingier than most with big contracts. As far as everybody else goes, Cauley-Stein and Kidd-Gilchrist were brought in as depth pieces mid-season. Lee has played the equivalent of four full 48-minute games. That makes Barea the biggest loss, and he has also missed much of the season with injury, plus he's getting older.


C-Dwight Powell, Boban Marjanovic

PF-Kristaps Porzingis, Maxi Kleber

SF-Dorian Finney-Smith, Justin Jackson

SG-Tim Hardaway Jr., Seth Curry

PG-Luka Doncic, Delon Wright, Jalen Brunson

This is the heart of the team, and is 11 of the 12 leading scorers and minutes on the roster. Dallas doesn't have to do much else to this team (unless Hardaway Jr. bolts) aside from adding depth pieces like they did this season. And they will have $16 million to do so.


Dallas doesn't have a lot to do to keep the current roster, so this is where the hypothetical game comes into play. If they upset Houston, the Clippers or Denver in the first round, Dallas theoretically could make the Western Conference Finals (because if they upset in the first round who is to say they can't do it again). If they lose in 5, 6 or 7 games in the first round, it's not a huge deal because nobody expected much. It's next year they need to be concerned about, and they will need to find creative ways to improve.

The only contract that is likely not worth trading is Kristaps Porzingis (and he's not going to be traded anyways), meaning making moves for other stars is not out of the question for Dallas. Aside from Porzingis and Hardaway Jr's expiring contract, only Dwight Powell has an average of over $9.5 million and he is just at $11. For comparison purposes, Tony Snell and Solomon Hill are two examples of players making more than all but two (possibly one) Mavericks next season, so finding trades shouldn't be hard. I remember when Dallas had an awful cap a few years ago with trouble finding stars that would want to come, and now with Luka taking over for Dirk Nowitzki, it makes things easier. Dallas has two stars locked up for at least four more seasons, a bunch of friendly contracts attached to quality players, and future flexibility. Dallas should look to form a big three sometime within the next year and a half, but there is no need to rush, especially with LeBron James in the West for at least one more season. Wait things out, but keep moving forward under the radar.