The Dallas Mavericks recently made one of the biggest headlines of the season when they engaged in a blockbuster deal with the New York Knicks before the February NBA trade deadline. The Mavericks traded Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, and two future first-round picks to the Knicks in exchange for Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke, and Courtney Lee.
Kristaps Porzingis is not expected to make his debut with the Mavericks in the 2018-19 NBA season, as he is still recovering from an ACL injury. However, the Mavericks have a strong belief that the tandem of Porzingis and Luka Doncic will help them end their title drought. After the successful acquisition of Porzingis, the Mavericks revealed that they are not done yet in upgrading their roster.
After trading Harrison Barnes to the Sacramento Kings, the Mavericks could create enough salary cap space to sign big names in the summer of 2019. According to the Dallas Morning News, one of the Mavericks’ top targets in the 2019 NBA free agency is Nikola Vucevic of the Orlando Magic.
“Having just acquired a reigning All-Star in Kristaps Porzingis via a blockbuster trade with the New York Knicks, a league source told SportsDay’s Brad Townsend that the Mavericks will now set their sights on a summer addition of a 28-year-old center who on Thursday became an All-Star himself. Enter Nikola Vucevic. The 7-foot Orlando center will become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, as he’s playing out the final year of a four-year, $53 million contract. One of his agents is Bill Duffy, who also represents Mavericks rookie sensation Luka Doncic.”
— SportsDayDFW (@SportsDayDFW) February 1, 2019
It’s definitely not a surprise that the Mavericks are interested in signing Nikola Vucevic. The 28-year-old center is currently having the best season in his NBA career, averaging 20.5 points, 12.1 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks on 52.1 percent shooting from the field, and 38.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc. With his impressive performance on both ends of the floor, Vucevic was named as an NBA All-Star for the first time this season.
The Magic may have let the February NBA trade deadline pass with Nikola Vucevic still on their roster, but his departure in Orlando seemed to be inevitable. Unless the Magic give up on Mo Bamba, it is highly unlikely that they will be using a huge chunk of their salary cap space to bring Vucevic back. Also, at this point in his NBA career, Vucevic would surely love to play for a legitimate contender than be part of a rebuilding team like the Magic.
Nikola Vucevic will be an incredible addition to the Mavericks, giving them a big man who has the ability to space the floor. Kristaps Porzingis won’t have a hard time sharing the court with Vucevic since he can play both the center and the power forward positions. However, aside from targeting big names like Vucevic, the Mavericks will also need to make a decision regarding Porzingis’ free agency. As a restricted free agent, the Mavericks only need to match offers from other NBA teams to bring Porzingis back, but it will be a different story if the Latvian center chooses to sign the one-year qualifying offer.