Right when things were getting started, they are over for Josh Richardson in Dallas.

After just one season, the Dallas Mavericks traded Josh Richardson to the Boston Celtics Friday evening.

With Richardson exercising his $11.6 million player option, Boston was able to use an $11 million trade exception to get the deal done. In return, Dallas created its own $10.9 million trade exception. However, since Richardson’s salary jumps to $11.6 million in the 2021-22 season, the trade won’t be finalized by the league office until Saturday.

The move now nets the Mavericks roughly $33 million in cap space, just a week before free agency begins. With the near-max salary spot, Dallas can swing for the fences, as it aims to surround Luka Doncic with the necessary talent to win.

Yet, that money isn’t all ‘free-range.’ The Mavericks are expected to make a serious push at retaining Tim Hardaway Jr., who is expected to earn upwards of $20 million per year this offseason.

Richardson’s disappointing season in Dallas:

Richardson’s days in Dallas seemed numbered after a disappointing 2020-21 season and Donnie Nelson parted ways with the organization.

By the playoffs, Richardson found himself nearly out of the rotation, playing sparingly compared to his role at the beginning of the season.

On the year, Richardson averaged a near career-low of 12.1 points per game. He shot 42 percent from the field and 33 percent from three. When he arrived in Dallas via the Seth Curry trade, he was expected to be a lockdown perimeter defender and offensive creator. That didn’t happen. And by the midway point of the year, it was clear that it most likely wouldn’t happen this season.

However, the Mavericks moving on so quickly from Richardson may indicate that the organization sees it made a clear mistake shipping Curry off to Philadelphia for Richardson.

They can’t get Curry back, but with the newfound wiggle room, the Mavs can look to add more shooting around Doncic this offseason.

Richardson didn’t work in Dallas. Sometimes that happens. What matters now is how Dallas retools in the coming weeks.

League office update (Sat. July 31, 2021):

The official return for Josh Richardson also includes Moses Brown, who played for the Oklahoma City Thunder last season.

Brown averaged 8.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game last season. He is 21 years old and stands 7-foot-2, adding needed size to the Mavericks frontcourt. His salary is $1.7 million in 2021-22, $1.85 million in 2022-23 and a team option for $2.0 million in 2023-24.

With Brown now included in the deal, the Mavericks TPE drops to $9.6 million instead of the initial $10.9 million thought on Friday. The only way the TPE moves back up to the original number is if adding Brown becomes a second deal separate from the initial Richardson trade.

With this, the Mavericks close the door on the Richardson chapter and open the door for Brown.

Related Mavericks reading:

“Meet the undrafted free agents Dallas brought in on draft night.” 

Feature image via Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports