The Mavericks gave Luka Doncic more defense and a shooter. And another team from Texas helped out.
Dallas added Grant Williams from Boston on a four-year, $53 million deal. While Williams was a key reserve for the Celtics, playing solid defense and shooting 43.3% from three points in his playoff career, Boston opted not to match his contract.
This was possibly due to their addition of Kristaps Porzingis. Or they assessed second-round picks or the $6.2 million trade exception they received.
Williams was a restricted free agent, but by making the trade a trade, Dallas preserved their mid-level exception. They quickly used him to add another restricted free agent, Portland’s Matisse Thybulle.
Thybulle was a second-team All-Defensive in 2021 and 2022. Although he’s limited offensively, Dallas is betting that alongside Doncic and Kyrie Irving, they won’t need Thybulle to shoot. They prioritized adding defensemen to their team, which was the sixth-worst in the NBA in defensive ratings last year.
Why did San Antonio help their in-state rival, accepting Reggie Bullock’s contract and handing out runoffs? Because they anticipate. Seven years ahead.
The Spurs received an unprotected first-round pick trade with the Mavericks in 2030. They’re essentially selling Mavericks stock short, giving them a potentially valuable pick if Dallas is bad in 2029-30.
And while the price tag is high, Spurs have more future picks than they could possibly have on the roster – they’ve had 14 first rounds and 17 seconds over the next seven years. Spending a few for a chance of making a really good future pick is a great bet.
Especially since in 2030, Victor Wembanyama will only be 26 years old and will be in the prime of life. Dallas is better now, but San Antonio could be a lot better later.