Has the typical NBA fan ever been so excited for the season to end so that the offseason could begin?
This is no slight on how much people love watching NBA basketball. That’s probably higher than ever. What’s also higher than ever is social media’s ability to stir up more interest in player movement rumors than the actual games going on in front of us. So once the final buzzer sounded during the Toronto Raptors’ game six victory at Oracle Arena earlier this month, the countdown clock finally got going on getting to what is shaping up to be one of the juiciest NBA offseasons in recent memory.
For Mavs fans, this summer is the source of so many mixed emotions. One minute the Twitter Tea Leaves are able to talk you into thinking the team is a legitimate contender to sign the likes of Kemba Walker, the next you’re getting the feeling you have to be content with Danny Green being the missing link between this team and the playoffs. It’s an up-and-down ride that you’re just desperate to end so that you know how everything turned out.
This past week has been especially tantalizing with the likes of 2019 All-Star D’Angelo Russell and veteran big-man Al Horford being heavily linked to Dallas. The linkage to Horford is another example of just how hard it can be for very credible members of the national media to pin down what exactly the Mavericks are up to when it comes to player movement.
First you have this:
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) June 19, 2019
Then you have this:
Numerous teams and agents believe Al Horford has a four-year offer awaiting him in free agency worth an estimated $112 million. Sources with knowledge of the Mavericks’ thinking continue to insist that such a deal will NOT be coming from Dallas. Free agency starts in eight days
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 21, 2019
Then there was the T.J. Warren buzz that came and went within a few hours on Thursday. SNY’s Ian Begley reported that the Mavericks were interested in possibly trading for Warren around lunchtime. ESPN’s Tim MacMahon confirmed those rumors. Then DMN’s Brad Townsend said that he heard Dallas was not interested because it would affect their ability to spend this summer. Then before any of us were home from work, Warren was an Indiana Pacer.
As the great Steiny-Mo reminded us: Free agency is still several days away. That is very important because sometimes Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban pull a fast one on us and make moves we rarely see coming. Expect the unexpected with this Mavs offseason.
In the Twitter era of NBA-following, it never seems like the Mavs are a team that has a rumor just swirl and swirl for weeks, or months, before it actually happens (“actually happen” being the key concept there. Looking at you, 2015 DeAndre Jordan). I can’t think of a Mavs equivalent of the whole “KD to New York” narrative that has been going on for several years. Major moves just pop up for Dallas and we’re all just left catching our breath after the fact. A few recent examples:
ESPN has learned that Dallas Mavericks are on verge of reacquiring Tyson Chandler in trade with New York Knicks. Story going online now
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 25, 2014
As you see by the date, this was a few days before the start of the free agency, so no one was totally anticipating a move like this. If I remember correctly, there was no buildup to this move. This was the summer that LeBron James went back to Cleveland, so we were definitely all on Twitter and dissecting every single rumor. This never came up as a possibility for Dallas until all of a sudden it was already done. I can remember it being a rainy day during the week and I had just got off work when all of a sudden Tyson Chandler was a Maverick again. Huh? What?
Last June, Mavs fans were ready to be content with the fifth overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. From the outside looking in, a Dennis Smith, Jr. and Mo Bamba pairing seemed imminent. Outside of some rumors that Luka Doncic could slide a few spots, there was seemingly very little buzz that Dallas had any chance to land the 19 year-old Slovenian sensation.
This was the feeling for the entirety of the six weeks between the draft lottery in May and the draft in June. Then all of a sudden within a couple hours of the draft starting, rumors start to swirl that the Mavericks were talking to the Hawks about moving up to the third overall pick. There were a variety of rumored roadblocks to the getting the deal done, like including the big money deals of Wesley Matthews and Kent Bazemore, but Dallas and Atlanta ultimately got it done over the course of a few hours and Luka Doncic was a Maverick. Something no one expected when that draft day began.
Fast forward to January 31st of this year. Just a normal Thursday afternoon. The day after the Mavericks beat down the Knicks at MSG and Dennis Smith, Jr. notched a nice triple-double. There was this interesting moment at halftime of the game…
— Isaac Harris (@IsaacLHarris) January 31, 2019
It was probably nothing. Oh, but there are rumors this morning that Porzingis is meeting with the Knicks management to voice his displeasure. What else is new? I was at my desk at work and decided to put my phone down for a while and, you know, actually work. I pick it up thirty minutes later and the internet had exploded.
The Dallas Mavericks are nearing a trade to acquire Kristaps Porzingis from the New York Knicks, according to league sources
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 31, 2019
Huh? What? Come again? Of course the Mavs were interested in a deal for Porzingis for years, but I remember ZERO discussion of it as a legitimate opportunity leading up to the trade actually happening. It was like that outlandish Christmas gift you had been saying you wanted all year miraculously being under the tree! But you can’t play with it until the start of the next season because it’s still recovering from a torn ACL that occurred the year before. Right? We’ve all been there.
With the Mavericks track record of keeping their major moves on the down low until the last minute, there’s really no way to prepare yourself for an offseason with them. Since there is still about a week left until players and teams begin to meet, there will be numerous rumors that surround Dallas in the coming days? How many will actually become a reality? One? Maybe two? Possibly none.
I really think there is a distinct chance that Dallas’ greatest offseason pickup will be someone most haven’t even thought of yet. If they strike out on the top class in free agency again, maybe they could be the beneficiaries of the teams who do land the top stars needing to shed some salary and Dallas could just absorb those contracts as a favor to the other team and as a way to boost their own roster.
Whatever ends up happening over the next few weeks will be crazy. You can bank on that. Just keep yourself prepared for something seemingly coming out of nowhere to rock your NBA world.
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