Moore: League Sources Believe Mavericks in Pursuit of Star Guard Upgrades
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Doncic (left) guarded by Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Dallas Mavericks notoriously don’t leak.
They’ve consistently been one of the more buttoned-up organizations in the NBA in terms of information getting out about moves.
But after a year where the Mavs exceeded expectations and Luka Doncic flirted with serious MVP consideration, they are in a position to pursue an upgrade, and sources around the league believe they are.
Specifically, there is thought to be interest from Dallas in Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo, Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie and New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday. All indications that they’re looking for a wing upgrade to pair with Doncic.
The Mavericks’ offense was the best in the NBA last season, with Tim Hardaway Jr. and Seth Curry among nine players who shot 37% or better from 3-point range. Hardaway Jr., however, has a player option for next season, and with Kristaps Porzingis eventually coming off yet another knee injury, it makes sense that Dallas would look for an upgrade.
Dinwiddie is widely expected to be one of the more pursued names on the market, Holiday is the most sought-after trade target, and Oladipo is probably No. 2 on that list.
Hardaway Jr.’s player option for next season is roughly $19 million, making up a significant chunk of what would have to be sent out in a trade, and the Mavericks have other good rotation players like Delon Wright and Dorian Finney-Smith on deals that expire after the 2021-22 season.
The bigger question is what happens with the Mavericks’ frontcourt. Dwight Powell was Doncic’s best pick-and-roll partner with his lob threat last season, but he unfortunately suffered an Achilles rupture in January. Porzingis has a history of knee injuries, including a torn ACL in 2018 that took over a year to recover from before he tore his meniscus in this year’s first-round series against the Clippers.
The Mavericks absolutely need a lob threat and another big to pair with Porzingis, as well as to provide depth when Porzingis’ knee is sore enough to keep him out. There’s been speculation that the Mavericks might look to move Porzingis eventually, but given his injury situation, how much the Mavericks spent in trade assets to acquire him and the success Dallas had late in the season when Doncic and Porzingis started to click, that seems unlikely.
Oladipo is coming off a major injury, as well, that he never fully recovered from even after the league’s hiatus. He had initially said he’d be opting out of playing but eventually joined the Pacers in their first-round loss to the Heat.
Oladipo would provide a quality scorer who can both create his own shot and spot up, as well as a quality defender. Holiday is kind of the inverse: an elite level perimeter defender (an area the Mavericks really struggled) and a quality — but not elite — shooter. Dinwiddie is an all-around playmaker with size, finishing ability, scoring aptitude and a high defensive floor.
Whether the Mavericks will have the assets to acquire any of the three remains to be seen, but teams that are expected to pursue those players in the coming weeks through the draft and free agency view the Mavericks as competition.
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