Mavericks make do in busy summer

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NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman is grading every team’s offseason based on where the team stands now relative to its position entering the offseason. A ‘C’ means a team is in similar standing, with notches up or down from there.

The Mavericks formed a promising young duo through sheer force of will.

No extreme tanking. No lottery luck. No free-agency coup.

Dallas traded up in the 2018 draft for Luka Doncic then traded multiple first-round picks and took undesirable salary to get Kristaps Porzingis. The Mavericks just aggressively pursued their targets and got them.

With a prime opportunity to add to its core this summer, Dallas came up empty on another big splash.

Doncic has three years left on his cheap rookie-scale contract. Porzingis and a couple other free agents had relatively low cap holds. The Mavericks had max-ish spending power. But they didn’t lure someone like Kemba Walker or Al Horford or even Danny Green.

Instead, Dallas re-signed Porzingis to a five-year max contract then signed several other middling players.

Porzingis will go a long way in determining whether the Mavericks blossom as they hope. He already demonstrated being worth that money ($158,253,000), but that was before he missed all of last season due to injury. There’s real risk in bestowing the full five-year max. Still, playing hardball could’ve alienated Porzingis the same way he soured on the Knicks. Dallas is putting its best foot forward with Porzingis and Doncic.

How will the Mavericks build around those two? They’re starting with several players signed this summer:

Dallas could open more cap space when Courtney Lee‘s contract expires next year or Tim Hardaway Jr.‘s expires the following year. But a key factor in the Mavericks’ flexibility will be whether these newly signed deals hold positive value.

With the exception of Powell’s, these contracts all look fine. Especially with Powell – who exercised a $10,259,375 player option – locked in another season, I wouldn’t have rushed to pay him so much. Centers are replaceable. Otherwise, these are all helpful players at reasonable prices.

There are no stars, though. This summer was a missed opportunity. Porzingis is now on his max deal. Several other players are signed to multi-year deals. Doncic will be off his rookie-scale deal soon enough.

This wasn’t the Mavericks’ last chance to add a third star, but it might have been their best chance.

At least they recovered reasonably well. They have the depth to compete for a playoff spot and maybe eventually consolidate via trade.

Offseason grade: C+