The Dallas Mavericks are rumored as having an interest in Los Angeles Clippers high-energy big man Montrezl Harrell this offseason. However, as much as the Mavs might need the type of player Harrell is, which is hard-nosed and gritty (think DeShawn Stevenson in the Mavs’ 2011 title run, minus the defense), they don’t necessarily need another big man with how the current roster is constructed, especially one who isn’t great on the defensive end of the court and can’t really shoot the ball either.
That might sound like I’m piling on Harrell, but I promise that’s not my intention here. That’s just how it right now based on our list of the Mavs’ biggest needs going into this offseason. With his potential on-court fit included, there are three main reasons why Harrell doesn’t make sense for the Mavs.
Wings Are The Greater Need
As mentioned above, the Mavs don’t really ‘need’ to add another big man to the roster unless they plan on moving one or two of the ones they currently have. Upgrading wing depth has to be the first priority for the Mavs this offseason, then they can address their bigs situation sometime after that.
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Right now, the Mavs have Kristaps Porzingis, Dwight Powell, Maxi Kleber, Boban Marjanovic, and Willie Cauley-Stein (player option pending) as the bigs on the roster. There are only so many minutes to go around, so Dallas would need to make a trade to make the hypothetical addition of Harrell work. A sign-and-trade for Dwight Powell would make some sense, but what exactly will Harrell be hoping to make annually on his next contract? This leads us to the next point...
Harrell’s Price Tag
Whether Harrell re-signs with the Clippers or moves on to another team, it’s safe to say that he’ll be making quite a bit more annually on his next contract than the $6 million he made this season. Anywhere from $13-15 million per year sounds about right for where he’ll end up. And hey, with the New York Knicks having cap space again and an infatuation with centers, Harrell might make even more than that estimate.
What Are Current Title Contenders Doing?
The Mavs are already paying about $53 million total for their current bigs on the roster, which is nearly 50% of the salary cap. Look at the two teams playing in the NBA Finals right now. The Los Angeles Lakers have three centers that they’re paying a combined $33 million to — and Anthony Davis makes up $27 million of that. The Miami Heat have about $27 million tied up in three big men, with their most important one, Bam Adebayo, making a little over $3 million of that. Meyers Leonard and Kelly Olynyk make a little more than $11 million per year, and they hardly see any court time.
So, the point here is that the Mavs already have enough money invested in bigs. Improving wing depth — players who are elite shooters from deep (perimeter defense would be a plus too) — is what will push Dallas into title contention next season. Not adding another big to an already crowded stable. Luka Doncic is an All-NBA First Team and MVP talent who enjoys distributing the ball to his teammates. The more elite three-point shooting he’s surrounded with, the better the Mavs will be, and I’m confident we’ll see the Mavs continue improving their roster accordingly.