DALLAS - It's no secret the Dallas Mavericks held high aspirations of adding a co-star to pair with Luka Doncic. Those efforts unravelled before the official start of free agency had even begun.
There was some thought that Kawhi Leonard could consider the Mavericks or Miami Heat had he departed from the LA Clippers, but that ended quickly. The focus then shifted to Kyle Lowry, who was strongly linked to the Miami Heat before free agency even started.
In part of ESPN's annual NBA offseason survey, an Eastern Conference executive was 'surprised' the Mavericks 'stood still' in terms of making a move to add talent around Luka Doncic.
"Can they get a healthy [Kristaps] Porzingis?" an East executive asked about the Mavs. "That's the key. But I was surprised they stood still. They didn't do enough to move themselves forward ... they now have a clock ticking with them on Luka [after he signed a supermax extension this offseason]."
It's one thing to say that Dallas needs more talent, but to be 'surprised' by the outcome is strange when considering the circumstances. The Mavericks made attempts in a weak class but Lowry ultimately opted to sign with the Heat.
Pursuing the trade route would have proven to be a challenge for the Mavericks, too. Kristaps Porzingis' trade value is at proverbial rock bottom after continuing to struggle with injuries and an underwhelming playoff performance.
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The Porzingis trade with the New York Knicks further complicates the options at the Mavericks' disposal in the trade department. Not having a selection in the NBA Draft for 2021 and 2023 was a significant limitation when coupled with a lack of dynamic prospects to package.
There is more than valid criticism the Mavericks could receive for their execution in general roster construction over the last few years. Keeping cap space open for a class of free agents that unravelled after contract extensions got done was simply a flop.
It certainly doesn't help when the owner is making comments about 'knowing' that players want to come to Dallas, either. Or when comments are made about the need for a secondary ball-handler early in the offseason all for no addition of the kind to be made.
There's still work to do for the Mavericks front office. It doesn't need to be a blockbuster trade, but bringing in a talent like Goran Dragic could prove to make a needed difference.
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