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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Execs believe Dallas Mavericks are one player short of title contention

The Dallas Mavericks made a surprising run to the Western Conference Finals that saw them knock out the Utah Jazz, who led the league in winning percentage just last season, and the team with the best record in the NBA this year, the Phoenix Suns. Nobody expected the Mavs to make it that far, but Luka Doncic is no stranger to exceeding expectations. The Warriors won four of five games to advance to the NBA Finals, but it was an important and historic season for Dallas.

Expect the Mavericks to take a bit of time off, but the work will quickly begin for next season. It is difficult to reach the conference finals, and there is no guarantee that the Mavs make it back. The LA Clippers and Denver Nuggets expect to be healthier next season. Phoenix will be looking to get back to the NBA Finals as Memphis, Minnesota, and Dallas attempt to continue their climb. Only two can reach the Western Conference Finals, and the Golden State Warriors have no plans of giving up their throne.

The Mavs need to re-sign Jalen Brunson, upgrade their roster, and be willing to spend deep into the luxury tax to make it back. There will be plenty of rumors this offseason on what the Mavericks will do, but their first of the offseason delves into how close they are to winning it all.

Tim MacMahon wrote a fantastic piece about how the Mavs are building around Luka Doncic where he quoted an Eastern Conference executive as saying the following.

“They’re one player away.”

MacMahon notes the executive suggested Dallas could win the championship next season if they acquire a rebounder, rim protector, and pick and roll partner for Doncic at the center position. He also states the opinion is shared by coaches, scouts, and executives across the league.

The rumor should come as no surprise. The Mavs started Dwight Powell throughout the playoffs, but he was clearly the team’s weakest link. Maxi Kleber played the most minutes at the five, and he is fantastic stretch option that allows them to play small, but Dallas was dominated on the glass in all three series. They need an upgrade at that position to round out their roster.

Fans have heard the Rudy Gobert rumors for months, but the latest out of Utah suggests the Jazz will attempt to keep both Gobert and Donovan Mitchell as they host the All-Star game in 2023.

Can the Dallas Mavericks find that key piece this summer? They would love to improve their depth and wing defense too. Expect Nico Harrison and the front office to be active and aggressive as they search for upgrades, and The Smoking Cuban will have all the latest rumors for fans, so be sure to check back regularly.

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