Although there’s still a little more than two weeks left before the NBA Draft – when trade rumors really start to pick up steam – the offseason planning for the Dallas Mavericks is already in full swing. After coming off an encouraging run to the Western Conference finals, the Mavs are focused on upgrading key areas of the roster while also keeping most of the team chemistry in tact as well.
On Monday, Mavs GM Nico Harrison joined the Ben and Skin Show on 97.1 The Eagle and dished on what kind of summer the team is looking for heading into the draft and free agency.
“We need some rim protection. That’s one thing that we don’t have a lot of on our team,” said Harrison candidly. “I think that’s the easiest thing to say. Of course, you always want to add more talent, but the thing you have to caution against is we were a really good team. If you look at the parts individually, not a lot stands out, but as a team, together, we were really, really good. We had great culture, we liked each other, we played for each other. All that stuff matters and you don’t want to lose that.”
Although the Mavs greatly value the team chemistry and culture that has been set in place, that doesn’t mean that Harrison won’t be active in looking for that rim protection he mentioned as being the team’s top need. We believe Indiana Pacers big man (and DFW native) Myles Turner should be the Mavs’ top trade target on draft night to meet this need.
“We’re listening to everything,” said Harrison. “We’re going to call teams. We’re listening to everything. I don’t think we’re actively trying to trade our pick, but we’re going to listen and if something makes sense and it makes our team better, we’re absolutely going to do it.”
The Mavs own the No. 26 pick in the draft on June 23, and there are a number of intriguing prospects to choose from if they actually decide to use it. Dallas didn’t own a pick in last year’s draft, so we can consider this as Harrison’s true first draft as a GM.
The draft and potential trades are likely the most feasible ways for the Mavs to improve this summer given their salary cap restrictions, but that doesn’t mean free agency is completely off the table either. Harrison believes that Dallas is primed to be an attraction to the league’s biggest stars going forward.
“I think the city sells itself,” said Harrison when asked what his pitch would be to potential free agents. “I think most players, if you ask them, they like Dallas. They’ve had good times in Dallas, good food, the weather’s nice.
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“I really think that what players are attracted to is the culture. Who’s the coach? How does he treat the players? Are they going to let me play? I think that’s all stuff that if you watch us play — I always try to tell people culture isn’t stuff that you write on the boards it’s how people feel when they watch you do what you do. I think people watch us play and they can tell ‘I want to be a part of that.’ To me, that’s culture right there.”
When asked if it was “safe to say” top-tier talent truly wants to be a part of what the Mavs have built, Harrison had this to say:
“It’s safe to say this. I came here thinking that Dallas is a place that top-tier talent wants to come, and I believe that what Jason [Kidd] has created in terms of a culture, that has been the case and will continue to be the case.”
Harrison has already proven that he’s not shy about making big changes when the opportunity arrises, as evident by the Mavs trading Kristaps Porzingis to the Washington Wizards for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans in February. He will do whatever he thinks is best for the Mavs, and when he comes to believing in him, he’s earned the benefit of the doubt with the moves he’s made so far. It should be a fun and interesting summer in Dallas.
You can follow Dalton Trigg on Twitter at @dalton_trigg
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