With the predictable NBA Playoffs officially finished as of Monday night, the exciting and unpredictable summer season can begin.
A summer of “WojBombs” and free agent destination articles on The Players’ Tribune is just around the corner and it will be preceded by the NBA Draft next Thursday night.
The Mavericks will pick ninth on draft night, barring any trades. This is their highest pick since 1998 when they selected Robert “Tractor” Traylor and then traded him for the legendary Dirk Nowitzki.
Anyone who says they know how the draft will go besides Markelle Fultz to the Celtics and possibly Lonzo Ball to the Lakers isn’t telling the truth. There’s no slam dunk on who the Mavericks will pick at number nine, but they have heavily tied to 18 year-old Frank Ntilikina. So much so that Mavs owner Mark Cuban (and a guy who ISN’T Donnie Nelson) took a picture with him in Italy last weekend.
— Olivier MAZET (@OlivierMAZET) June 10, 2017
The Mavs have reportedly spent a ton of time scouting the French teenager. It seems that Dallas is content to take him at number nine if he’s their best choice at number nine. If someone with a college pedigree and a little more certainty around them fell to number nine, surely the Mavericks would take them. The only team that seems to be in the way of getting Ntilikina before the Mavs can is the New York Knicks at pick number 8. Ntilikina was even recently quoted as saying he’d be a good fit with the Knicks.
“I know how they play their triangle offense with Phil Jackson as the president… I think it would be a good thing for me,” Ntilikina told the New York Daily News.
Beyond the NBA Draft, there’s the always exciting free agency market that begins on July 1st. After years of heartbreak, it’ll be interesting to see how involved the Mavericks get with free agents other than their own; such as Nerlens Noel and, potentially, Dirk Nowitzki.
An interesting report surfaced on Twitter Wednesday courtesy of SI.com’s Jake Fischer.
The Dallas Mavericks have emerged as serious contenders to sign Jrue Holiday and his brother Justin, according to league sources.
— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 14, 2017
As I outlined in a previous piece, Jrue Holiday is a second-tier point guard I think the Mavericks could realistically woo this offseason. Even though Fischer is a reputable member of the media, I have a hard time buying into a report like this so early into the offseason. A lot can change over the next couple of weeks before the Mavericks officials are even allowed to begin to woo potential free agent signings.
The big question for me: Would Dallas still be interested in signing the likes of a Jrue Holiday or Jeff Teague even if they drafted Frank Ntilikina?
Ntilikina will only be 19 years-old at the start of the season and is viewed as the biggest project of any of the potential top ten draft picks. Could Dallas take the French point guard as a big part of their future but still target an immediate upgrade at point guard to give Dirk Nowitzki more help for what could be his final season? I sure hope not.
Dallas has needs at multiple positions across their roster. With Yogi Ferrell, J.J. Barea and potentially Devin Harris (team option for next season) under contract for next season, moves like that wouldn’t make sense for the Mavericks. Unless they have some moves up their sleeves to move one or more of their current point guards.
If you’ve missed Mavericks basketball over the last two months, get ready for the draft next Thursday night and what could be an eventful summer. No one ever really knows how an offseason will go for this organization. Just look at the last handful of summers. Get your popcorn ready, it’s going to be a show.