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NBA Rumors: Dallas Mavericks want to pair Luka Doncic with a secondary ball-handler

Luka Doncic
Luka Doncic
Raunak J
ANALYST
Modified 08 Apr 2021
Rumors

Several NBA rumors had suggested earlier that the Dallas Mavericks will be making big moves ahead of the trade deadline to support Luka Doncic. While that didn't happen, GM Donnie Nelson will have a chance to land some notable names again in the offseason.

The Dallas Mavericks are among the few teams projected to have cap space next season. They want to do everything in their capacity to elevate Luka Doncic's game. As per The Athletic's John Hollinger, the Mavs want to pair him with a secondary ball-handler. Hollinger wrote:

"Dallas, for instance, is craving a secondary ballhandler to pair next to Luka Doncic and just so happens to have about $35 million in cap room coming its way."

Luka Doncic is eligible for a five-year $195 million extension at the end of this season. Kristaps Porzingis has also signed a long-term contract. The Dallas Mavericks know that this offseason is the only time they'll have the cap flexibility to make big additions to the roster and are narrowing down on their needs quickly.

NBA Rumors: How will adding an additional ball-handler help Dallas Mavericks and Luka Doncic?

Jalen Brunson (left) is Luka Doncic
Jalen Brunson (left) is Luka Doncic's backup right now

Luka Doncic has a league-high usage rate of 35.3% this season. The Slovenian carries the majority of the creative duties for the Dallas Mavericks. He's averaging 28.5 points, 8.7 assists and 8.2 rebounds per game this season despite opposition defenses making things difficult for him every night.

Having a secondary ball-handler will take a ton of pressure off Doncic, who'll have the chance to develop off-the-ball skills as well. He's been extremely efficient while playing a ton of isolation possessions every night. Having that extra bit of space will allow him easier looks at the bucket. More importantly, he'll be saving some of his energy reserves that can be used later down the stretch.

The best example of this is that of Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns. Booker has been an elite scorer all these years, but the addition of Chris Paul has allowed the former the freedom to get crafty and play winning basketball down the stretch.

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Interestingly, Paul has a player option for the 2021-22 season. If the Dallas Mavericks are willing to offer him a multi-year deal, he could be lured to play alongside Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis.

Published 08 Apr 2021, 18:40 IST
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