DALLAS - After falling short in the opening round of the NBA playoffs for the second consecutive season, the Dallas Mavericks were thought of as needing to head back to the drawing board to pull off a deeper playoff run.
Luka Doncic has since signed a five-year, $207 million supermax contract extension, which has applied greater pressure on the Mavericks front office to surround him with the necessary pieces to win a championship.
The additions the Mavericks made so far this offseason include free agency pickups of Reggie Bullock and Sterling Brown. Dallas also brought in Moses Brown in part of the trade that sent Josh Richardson to the Boston Celtics.
When the offseason began, the Mavericks were linked to superstar Kawhi Leonard only for him to clearly return to the LA Clippers. The team was a runner-up for Kyle Lowry, who ultimately landed with the Miami Heat.
Former Phoenix Suns general manager and current Audacy Sports insider Ryan McDonough recently made an appearance on the Reiter Than You show. He explained why the Mavericks had a 'little bit of an underwhelming free agency.'
"The Mavs had a little bit of an underwhelming free agency, they came into it with a bunch of cap space," McDonough said. "Now, they actually have a good team. They've been a Western Conference playoff team in the last couple years... So, I thought they needed more playmakers, and I don't think they really addressed that, at least not at a high level. Basically, a lot of their plan was to bring back their own guys...
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"I think because of Luka's greatness, they'll certainly be in the playoff mix and likely a playoff team in the West this year. But just to get into the top-six in the West and avoid the play-in scenarios isn't easy. I don't think that's a sure thing for Dallas, given they really kind of stood pat in free agency, and a lot of other teams -- the two in LA, Golden State, Phoenix, and others -- loaded up and look stronger than Dallas as we head into the preseason."
The Mavericks remain linked to two names in recent rumors, including Goran Dragic and Lauri Markkanen. Dallas has encountered issues in their pursuit of both players but remain linked as a potential landing spot.
Dragic would bring a needed secondary playmaking presence that McDonough alluded to the Mavericks lacking. It doesn't hurt that Dragic has ties with Luka Doncic from their mutual time with the Slovenian national team.
The Toronto Raptors are not expected to just give away Dragic in either a buyout or in an underwhelming trade scenario. The Mavericks have been rebuffed in their efforts to land the veteran guard so far, but things could change later.
Aside from Dragic, there does not appear to be a clean pathway to the Mavericks acquiring a secondary ball handler that was thought of as being such a high priority entering free agency.