Mac Engel

Once again the big losers in NBA free agency are the Dallas Mavericks

The ticker rolls by and one by one they sign, none of them with your team.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were not expected to sign with the Dallas Mavericks. And they didn’t. Neither will Kawhi Leonard, whenever he makes that announcement, presumably via courier pigeon.

The Mavs never bag those free agents, so they were not the expectation this time unlike previous free agent periods when they sought the biggest names only to be stiffed.

For the Dallas Mavericks, the 2019 NBA free agency period is not about making a pitch to KD or Kyrie but adding solid complements to Luka and Zinger.

When the potential three-team trade with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat, which would have brought Miami guard Goran Dragic to the Mavs, fell apart it was time to worry.

When Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverely, who would have fit well with the Mavs, didn’t even bother and just remained with the Clips, we all knew, or were reminded, of where we stand. We were all reminded that this free agency period for the Mavs is the same as the rest.

The Mavs are just another NBA franchise playing ball games in middle earth. NBA guys like us, but they don’t love us. We are not a hip destination, and the prospect of playing with Luka Doncic or Kristaps Porzingis excites none of them.

Beverely was going to be come here right up until the time he didn’t, because he never was. The same for Al Horford, or any name you want.

Rather than adding a quality point guard, and a necessary rebounder/defender, the Mavs are forced to bring a band back together that has been good enough to miss the playoffs.

Maybe the Mavs will bag Toronto guard Danny Green, which would be a quality add, but he’s not the banger or point guard they need. Green reportedly is waiting to decide where he will go when Leonard announces his Decision; if Kawhi stays in Canada, Green will likely remain there.

If Leonard goes, then Green actually may be a Maverick. Of course, we always hear this, so expect Kawhi to leave Toronto and Green will sign with the Hawks.

The Mavs’ “big announcements” are burying The Zinger with the richest contract in team history, even though he has never actually played a game for this team. Signing The Unicorn is a big deal, but the team already had Porzingis when they traded for him earlier this year.

The supporting cast is a bunch of decent guys, and names, you already know. Dwight Powell is a wonderful person and a nice bench guy who will return for three years at $33 million. The same for Maxi Kleber, who will return at four years for $35 million.

The team retained point guard J.J. Barea on a one-year minimum veteran’s contract, because they love him even though he is 35 and coming off a torn Achilles. No other team would have offered him a dime.

The big “new” addition is the guy you already know; they brought back Seth Curry, who is a nice shooter and a good pro. He’s a smaller guy who plays small minutes.

You want a bone-in ribeye steak, and instead are handed a hamburger steak.

With Luka and Zinger, the Mavs will be fun to watch and more competitive, but their needs are their needs and they have not adequately addressed them so far this off-season.

Because NBA guys will come here, and they will like playing for the Dallas Mavericks, but they would simply go someplace else first.

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Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist who has extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He has covered high schools, colleges, all four major sports teams as well as Olympic games and the world of entertainment, too. He combines dry wit with first-person reporting to complement a head of hair that is almost unfair.
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