The Dallas Mavericks headed in the 2018 NBA offseason with the goal of improving their frontcourt either via NBA draft or free agency. Holding the No. 5 pick, the Mavericks were rumored to be interested in selecting center Mohamed Bamba. However, during the 2018 NBA Draft, Dallas decided to engage in a trade deal with the Atlanta Hawks to acquire the draft rights of Luka Doncic.
The Mavericks' decision to draft Doncic over Bamba, who was selected by the Orlando Magic at No. 8, gave a major hint regarding their next move this offseason. With Dennis Smith Jr. and Doncic anchoring the backcourt and Harrison Barnes in the wing, the Mavericks are expected to search for a big man who could team up with Dirk Nowitzki next season. According to Michael Scotto of The Athletic, the Mavericks will "go all in" on DeMarcus Cousins of the New Orleans Pelicans and Clint Capela of the Houston Rockets in the upcoming free agency.
"At No. 5 overall, Dallas believes it has a strong chance to land DeMarcus Cousins in free agency, league sources told The Athletic. If the Mavericks pass on Mohamed Bamba, that would signal the team will go all in on trying to sign Cousins or restricted free agent Clint Capela. DeAndre Jordan could also become an unrestricted free agent if he declines his $24.1 million player option, but Dallas has been through that courtship before."The Mavericks are one of the few teams in the league who has the salary cap flexibility to give DeMarcus Cousins or Clint Capela a maximum contract. It is not a surprise why Dallas sees Cousins as their No. 1 target in free agency. The 27-year-old big man will undeniably boost the Mavericks on both ends of the floor and his ability to space the floor fits well in the modern NBA.
In 48 games he played last season, Cousins averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.6 blocks on 47 percent shooting from the field and 35.4 percent from beyond the arc. Cousins can play both center and power forward, making him an ideal frontcourt partner for Nowitzki. However, coming off an ACL injury, it will be risky for the Mavericks to give Cousins a long-term deal.
Meanwhile, Clint Capela is expected to gain lots of suitors once free agency starts in July. In order to prevent the Rockets from bringing him back as a restricted free agent, the Mavericks may need to offer him a maximum contract. Capela would be a great addition to the Mavericks. He is only 24 and fits the timeline of Smith Jr. and Luka Doncic. In 74 games, Capela averaged 13.9 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks on 65.2 percent shooting from the field.