The Dallas Mavericks didn’t make a splashy move in free agency this summer. Actually, unlike most of the summers since winning the title in 2011, the Mavs didn’t even have their eyes set on a big fish to go get.
Their focus? Hit on the rare top-ten draft pick, re-sign Dirk Nowitzki to whatever he wants, and make Nerlens Noel a cornerstone down low for years to come.
Noel was the primary reason the Mavs stayed put in free agency. They knew Nowitzki wasn’t going anywhere, and they had the money to give him whatever he wanted (though if you follow the Big German at all, he isn’t exactly the greedy kind). Landing Dennis Smith Jr. with the ninth pick was great when it happened but it wasn’t a long-held desire. Up until the last month or so of the season, Rick Carlisle and company were trying to make a push for that final spot in the West to earn the right to get swept by the Golden State Warriors in the opening round of the playoffs.
It was the move made at the end of the trade deadline in February when the Mavs traded their late first round pick from the 2015 draft (Justin Anderson) to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Noel, the sixth overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft. There were other formality pieces involved, such as Andrew Bogut but in reality, it was a swap for the most part.