The Dallas Mavericks are notoriously bad at making big free agent signings. They have the money, but what do they do with it?
Stephen A. Smith, one of ESPN’s most prominent opinion voices and well known for his outspoken opinions, threw some gas on the fire this week when he accused the Dallas Mavericks of being cheap for not re-signing Dwight Howard.
The Dallas Mavericks have been criticized for failing to land one of the big free agents this offseason, and this is beyond ridiculous. The Mavericks certainly have a history of failing to sign the best free agents to play for them, especially in recent years. There are simply no excuses for not being able to sign a big name free agent, especially when you’re one of the most famous brands in the NBA.
While their 2011 NBA Finals victory against LeBron James and the Miami Heat was historic, the Dallas Mavericks haven’t had the best of decades under owner Mark Cuban’s leadership. Six of the last ten seasons have ended in a first-round departure, while the other four have seen them miss the playoffs altogether.
During the last years of Dirk Nowitzki’s career, it was understandable that the Mavericks couldn’t compete with the best teams in the Western Conference, but with the addition of Luka Doncic in 2018, many believed the Mavericks would be back in contention sooner rather than later.
Doncic has quickly established himself as one of the finest young talents in the NBA, a dream player for Cuban and the rest of the Dallas front office to build a team around.
Stephen A. Smith, though, wants to know what the hold-up is when it comes to surrounding Doncic with quality, particularly in terms of free agency, after yet another first-round loss this season.
The Dallas Mavericks have had a difficult time attracting big-name free agents.
The Mavericks aren’t major free agent players, as Smith points out. Reggie Bullock, DeAndre Jordan, Maxi Kleber, and Harrison Barnes stand out as noteworthy additions to the team’s best free-agent acquisitions during the last several seasons. If you go back a few years, you’ll find Wesley Matthews and Chandler Parsons.
This isn’t exactly a bunch of Hall of Famers in the making.
The Mavericks gave huge contracts to Barnes and Parsons in particular, so money hasn’t been a problem. Year after year, the front office continues to predict wrong. They either spend a lot of money on average/below-average talent or they completely miss out on the big names.
This summer, the Mavericks were interested in Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry but were unable to sign either player.
Luka Doncic (77) converses with Kawhi Leonard (2) | Getty Images/Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire
Dallas’ failure to attract major free agents was shown one again this summer, when they failed to sign Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry. The Mavericks had hoped to provide Doncic with a genuine superstar-caliber running companion this summer, but that didn’t happen (Sports Illustrated).
Lowry was sent to Miami in a sign-and-trade deal, while Leonard signed a new deal with the Clippers, leaving Dallas with no major additions this summer.
Bullock and Sterling Brown are good bench players, but it’s a terrible look when a club targets Leonard/Lowry and finishes up with Bullock and Brown.
Doncic has pledged his future to Dallas; now they must provide him with real assistance.
Doncic has already agreed to a five-year max contract with the Mavericks, completely committing his future to helping Dallas create a long-term champion. While Doncic seems to be devoted to the club that selected him, the Mavs are running out of time.
Doncic is just 22 years old, so he has many more top years ahead of him. However, one has to question how much longer he’ll put up with the dearth of genuine assistance available to him. Dallas has acquired a few mid-tier players in recent offseasons, including as Kristaps Porzingis and Josh Richardson, but none of them compares to the impact that LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and others have on their respective teams.
As Stephen A. Smith pointed out, there is no justification for Cuban and the Mavericks’ failure to sign genuine free agents. Dallas is a major sports city, and they should be recruiting All-Star players year after year.
We’ll have to wait and see whether the Mavs’ summer in 2022 is any better, unless they have any tricks up their sleeves.
RELATED: After signing a $207 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks, JJ Redick blasts Luka Doncic on Twitter for a $1,700 gambling debt.
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