DALLAS - The Dallas Mavericks' search for guard depth continues as the start of training camp approaches.
As first reported by The Athletic's Shams Charania, the Mavericks hosted a workout on Tuesday that included NBA veterans Isaiah Thomas, Lance Stephenson, and Monta Ellis.
It was later reported by Sports Illustrated Senior Writer Chris Mannix that Stephenson and Thomas were to names, in particular, that 'impressed' in workouts with the Mavericks. Mannix also mentioned a desire to add 'backcourt depth' by Dallas.
There are plenty of layers to take into consideration when evaluating the possibility of either Thomas or Stephenson landing with the Mavericks' 15-man roster.
Before getting too much into it, choosing between Thomas and Stephenson presents a few interesting elements to consider.
The Mavericks have sought to add a secondary ball-handler 'with some size' and 5-foot-9 Thomas certainly does not check that box. Meanwhile, at 6-foot-6, Stephenson does.
The shooting ability of Thomas is greater than that of Stephenson. There is more reliability with Thomas in terms of being staying disciplined and under-control with the ball, too. Neither player is a positive defensively but Stephenson is uncharacteristically effective at defensive rebounding for a perimeter player.
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Making a choice between Stephenson and Thomas would certainly be up to the preferences of the Mavericks organization as there are pros and cons with either choice. Now, how is choosing either justified? Let's dive into that element...
For starters, if Goran Dragic were to reach a buyout agreement with the Toronto Raptors and sign with the Mavericks as Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer has indicated his league sources expect to happen, where would Thomas or Stephenson fit? Long story short, there doesn't appear to be room.
The Mavericks already would face a need to have to clear a contract spot in order to sign Dragic. The only non-fully-guaranteed contract on the team's books is Moses Brown, who is set to earn just the league minimum.
Trey Burke appears to be the cleanest candidate to get dealt elsewhere in order to make room for another backcourt addition. He is set to earn just under $3.2 million for 2021-22 and could be dealt away elsewhere with an asset attached.
Take the Dragic element out of the mix for a moment. Would the Mavericks choose Stephenson or Thomas in favor of Brown? Better yet, would Dallas attach an asset to trade a guaranteed contract to clear room for either player?
It appears most likely for the type of contract if one were to be offered would be a training camp deal. Creating a greater sample size to showcase potential impact could create greater justification for shuffling around the roster to clear a spot on the 15-man roster.