Ponder this (realistic) scenario: The Dallas Mavs win 39 games, miss the playoffs, DeAndre Jordan decides his new team is not the best fit and leaves as a free agent, and the Mavs are left with no lottery pick.
Don't plan on this, but these are all plausible scenarios now that DJ has committed to the Mavs.
Of course, since he has not actually signed a contract there is no point in celebrating the arrival of DJ to the Dallas Mavericks.
Fool us once, shame on Mark Cuban.
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Fool us twice ... shame on Mark Cuban.
The former Clippers' center has reportedly verbally agreed to a one-year contract with the Mavs, which he can officially sign on July 6. There is no reason to expect DJ to pull another DJ and run either back to the L.A. Clippers, or to another team. He will be the Mavs starting center this season.
DJ immediately makes the Mavs a legit contender to flirt with .500 next season. He does not make a 24-win team a threat to flirt with 50 wins, which is what is necessary to feel secure for a playoff spot.
In doing so the Mavs just handed the Atlanta Hawks what very well could be a lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Luka Doncic, you better be worth it.
To acquire the draft rights to Luka Doncic from the Hawks during the 2018 NBA Draft, the Mavs sent a lottery protected first round pick to Atlanta.
The pick is only protected if the Mavs finish with a pick in the top five after the lottery. Anything after pick five goes to Atlanta, which is the Mavs' hope.
The pick remains lottery protected 1-5 in 2020, 1-3 in 2021, 1-3 in 2022 and unprotected in 2023.
Had the Mavericks merely acquired Doncic, and then in free agency added some journeyman big to man the middle, there was a good chance they would finish in the top five in the lottery for a second straight year. Adding DJ "damages" their chances in the lottery considerably.
The Mavs' rotation now looks like Dennis Smith, Doncic, Jordan, Dirk Nowitzki, Wes Matthews, Harrison Barnes and Dwight Powell. That's not bad.
The Mavs should be good enough to finish outside of the high end of the lottery, and not quite good enough to make the playoffs.
They are banking that Doncic is essentially worth two lottery picks.
Atlanta, enjoy the selection.