Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks head into the 2021 NBA offseason with plenty of work to do if they are to advance past the first round of the 2022 playoffs. Doncic nearly reached the Western Conference Semifinals, but the Mavs lost in seven games to the LA Clippers.
After Rick Carlisle’s departure, the Dallas Mavericks hired Hall of Fame guard Jason Kidd, who will now lead the sidelines. Kidd will hope to take Doncic and company to the next level but it’s not going to be easy.
Even now, many teams are gearing up for next season and the Dallas Mavericks have to work overtime to improve the roster and increase their chances of going deeper in the postseason. Looking at the Mavs’ roster, the only guarantee is that Doncic will remain with the side next season. Virtually every other player is a candidate to be moved or not re-signed. Plenty will also depend on the make up of the team Kidd wants and the playing system he chooses to adopt.
With the 2021 offseason in full swing in a few weeks, here are three predictions about the Dallas Mavericks that could surprise basketball fans:
#1 Dallas Mavericks won’t re-sign Tim Hardaway Jr.
“As the beginning of free agency gets closer and closer, I can report that Tim Hardaway Jr is intrigued by the idea of landing in Miami and would love to join the Heat, a league source tells Five Reasons,” wrote Sylvander. However, the timing of free agency and contract details are perceived as likely challenges by Hardaway and his camp, according to the same sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.”
In terms of his career with the Dallas Mavericks, Hardaway had his highest scoring average this past season at 16.6 points per game. He also drained a career-best 207 three-pointers on 39.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc. As a free agent, several NBA teams are interested in signing the nine-year veteran.
His ability to spread the floor with his shooting makes him one of the most coveted players on the market and it’s no surprise that the Heat are interested. That doesn’t mean Hardaway will leave the Dallas Mavericks and sign with the Heat, but the 29-year-old will certainly look at the best situation for him career-wise.
Hardaway will likely see want his career growth to take on an upward trajectory, and this is likely to take place if he is on a team that uses him as a starter. At the moment, the Heat and the New Orleans Pelicans look like franchises that could potentially offer him that opportunity.
#2 Dallas Mavericks will sign Spencer Dinwiddie
“There’s the potential Dinwiddie could be a team’s starting point guard,” Winfield wrote. “The Daily News learned the Mavericks made their interest in Dinwiddie known and are a candidate to sign him in free agency.”
Dinwiddie hasn’t played since partially tearing the ACL in his right knee last December. But in 2019-20, he averaged a career-high 20.6 points, 6.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds a game. If he is back to his old form, he would be an excellent addition to the Dallas Mavericks.
The 28-year-old would help ease some of the playmaking duties off Doncic's shoulders and can also play off the ball. At the same time, Dinwiddie would provide a scoring punch to the Dallas Mavericks backcourt as well. The Mavs have sorely lacked this aspect in their offensive firepower outside of Doncic.
If Hardaway Jr. leaves in free agency, Dinwiddie is certainly a player the Mavericks will look to sign this offseason.
#3 Kristaps Porzingis will be traded
Kristaps Porzingis has long been rumored to be on the way out, considering how his game doesn’t appear to fit alongside Doncic’s. According to ESPN’s Tim McMahon, the two players don’t exactly see eye-to-eye either.
“Porzingis and Luka do not like each other,” McMahon said during an episode of the The Lowe Post podcast.
More often than not, Porzingis has been relegated to the role of bystander as Doncic has initiated the offense and created opportunities for his teammates. Perhaps the lack of consistent production by Porzingis is at the root of the problem between them, or maybe Doncic is at fault for over-dribbling. In any case, helping the two stars co-exist during the offseason might work by bringing in a third party. This could be newly-hired general manager Nico Harrison or coach Kidd.
But chances are the Dallas Mavericks would rather pursue a second star who won’t break down health-wise. Porzingis has played less than 57 games over the past four seasons, including one year when he was out the entire year due to an ACL injury.
Despite Porzingis averaging 20.1 points and 7.0 rebounds this past season, the Dallas Mavericks will likely move on from the 25-year-old. The only question is where he will be traded and what kind of haul they should expect.
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