With the NBA draft rapidly approaching and the Dallas Mavericks on the verge of their highest first-round pick since using the sixth pick to select Robert Traylor in 1998 before trading for Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs have several opportunities at improving their stock ahead of draft night.
1. Consider parting with movable assets
Wesley Matthews made roughly 17 million last season, he was the 38th best-paid player in the NBA according to HoopsHype. Seventy five NBA players averaged more than the 13.5 points per game he produced last season. Comparing the price market to the production, it’s safe to say Matthews had a less-than-stellar season after recovering from an ruptured Achilles and a forgettable 2015-2016 campaign. With the upcoming draft favoring hybrid guards at and near the top of the draft board, it may be time to explore what Matthews could return via trade including an improved draft position.
2. Pay Dirk less
The man, the legend. It seems incorrigible to propose offering the franchise’s all-time leading scorer a cut in salary. And this is something discussed in-depth on the Mavs Fanatic podcast, as well. With $50 million in salary alotted to Dirk Nowitzki and Harrison Barnes, essentially half of the projected $101 million cap for 2017-2018 is filled by two players. The Mavs currently have until June 29th to decide on whether or not to pickup the $25 million option on Nowitzki’s contract and a discussion about reducing that salary could open the door on max negotiations for Nerlens Noel or even potentially land the Mavericks another competitive asset.
3. Set ‘do not disturb’ on all calls from Happy Walters
Happy Walters represents many NBA clients, including top prospect De’Aaron Fox and former Mavs guard Monta Ellis. Walters also represents current Mavs big man Nerlens Noel, who is expected to cash in this summer with multiple “max” offers when he becomes a restricted free agent on July 1st. With all sights on the draft, Noel’s pending contract should be a topic of discussion after Dallas makes its selection and/or potentially decides to look elsewhere. Noel’s contract is among several slippery slopes the Mavs must navigate this offseason, but it certainly shouldn’t be the first with Nowitzki’s contract up for discussion along with what is being hyped as a franchise-changing draft class.