Nico Harrison and Mark Cuban need to make the Dallas Mavericks a better basketball team if it wants to return to the Western Conference finals next season.
One avenue available for the Mavericks is a $10.87 million trade exception set to expire July 31. It stems from the deal that sent Josh Richardson to Boston for Moses Brown last summer. And with the expectation nearing, Dallas can use its trade exception to acquire a veteran player who can help take Dallas over the hump.
Utilizing the trade exception, Dallas has a few intriguing options this summer.
Kemba Walker, G, Knicks
Kemba Walker suffered a down year with the New York Knicks and required a scenery change.
Walker averaged 11.6 points and 3.5 assists per game in 37 games with the Knicks. He looked far from his peak performance years but at times showed flashes of decent production in a reduced role. For example, he posted a triple-double in the Knicks’ Christmas Day game.
With a contract set to expire in 2023, Walker would be a low-risk investment for Dallas as it attempts to add playmakers to the roster.
Richaun Holmes, C, Kings
Last summer, Dallas expressed serious interest in bringing in Richaun Holmes. The two sides couldn’t make it work. As a result, Holmes returned to Sacramento. However, after another disappointing season, and a change of regime, Holmes may be an option Dallas explores again.
Holmes averaged 10.4 points per game and seven rebounds last season. With Nico Harrison emphasizing Dallas’ need to find a productive center, the reliable Holmes is an intriguing option.
Combining the trade exception and a future pick could be enough to bring a rugged rebounder to Dallas.
Duncan Robinson, G/F, Heat
Duncan Robinson was played off the floor during Miami’s run to the Eastern Conference finals and could need a change in scenery.
Robinson, a 3-point specialist, averaged 11 points while shooting 37 percent from three. He’s a good player Miami overpaid to keep. And after his lack of production in the playoffs, Miami may be ready to move on from him.
Pairing Robinson with Luka Doncic would only help Dallas’ already potent 3-point offense. And in the playoffs, when Doncic needs optimum spacing on the floor to do his work, Robinson forces teams to sell out on stopping his 3-point jump shot.
A deal involving the trade exception and Dwight Powell’s contract tied with a draft pick or two may make Miami bite at an offer.
As the offseason progresses and the deadline to use the trade exception nears, expect Dallas to field calls from teams in the hopes of improving. There is a reason Harrison said nothing was off the table this summer.
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Feature image via Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports.