NBA Rumors: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Rudy Gobert Could Be Mavericks’ Top Targets In 2021 Free Agency

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts against the Dallas Mavericks in the second half at American Airlines Center on November 18, 2017 in Dallas, Texas.
Tom Pennington / Getty Images

With the progress Luka Doncic has shown on both ends of the floor, the future is indeed bright for the Dallas Mavericks. However, though Doncic has gone from Rookie of the Year to a strong MVP candidate, the Mavericks are still expected to make roster upgrades that will boost their chances of performing well enough to contend for an NBA championship. The 2021 free agency period may still be far away, but Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer revealed that the Mavericks already have their targets in mind — Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz.

“If the Mavs wait until 2021, they could have enough cap space to pursue a max free agent, depending on what the salary cap is. Plan A remains Giannis and Plan B could be Rudy Gobert. Even if Giannis and Gobert go elsewhere, the 2021 class still could include Gordon Hayward and Jrue Holiday.”

It won’t be surprising if Antetokounmpo is really Dallas’ first option in the 2021 free agency period. As a matter of fact, the Mavericks are just one of the many NBA teams who are planning to make a strong push for the “Greek Freak” by then. Antetokounmpo would be an incredible addition to the Mavericks. Aside from his outstanding performance on both ends of the floor, he also perfectly fits the timeline of franchise cornerstones Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis.

However, it remains a big question mark if Antetokounmpo would really consider Dallas as his next landing spot, especially considering that they have Doncic as their main man. The reigning MVP has already said on numerous occasions that he has no interest in teaming up with other superstars just to win a championship. Also, no matter what the outcome of the 2019-20 season may be, the Bucks are expected to be aggressive in convincing Antetokounmpo to sign the massive contract extension that will prevent him from entering the free agency market in the summer of 2021.

Meanwhile, targeting an All-Star caliber big man like Gobert also makes a lot of sense for the Mavericks. As O’Connor noted, if there’s one thing that Porzingis wants his team to improve, it’s the center position.

“We already know what KP would likely prefer Dallas to pursue: a center. Porzingis has said in the past that he prefers to play power forward because at center he wastes energy battling against bigger players.”

As of now, Gobert hasn’t shown any sign that he’s no longer happy in Utah. However, if they fall short of achieving their main goal this season and the following year, things could turn sour with the Jazz. As such, he may consider finding his way out of Utah and chase for his first title somewhere else.