Mavericks News: Free Agent Role Player Hints At Return — With Reinforcements

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Most of the pressing offseason questions surrounding the reigning Western Conference champion Dallas Mavericks have already been answered.

After going 50-32 in 2023-24, the Mavericks made an underdog run all the way to the NBA Finals, where they were quickly handled by the Boston Celtics in a brisk five-game series. All-Stars Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving showed off deft playmaking and clutch scoring acumen, and their role player teammates helped cover up for their poor defense on the perimeter, but without enough release valve shooting elsewhere on the roster, Dallas was just no match for the bigger, longer, switchier Celtics. Boston hoisted its record-breaking 18th league championship.

This summer, Dallas general manager Nico Harrison went to work tinkering around the periphery of the roster. Though the team had hoped to retain starting small forward Derrick Jones Jr., who had inked a one-year veteran’s minimum deal with Dallas in the summer of 2023, the Mavericks ultimately replaced him with former New Orleans Pelicans swingman Naji Marshall. The 6-foot-7 swingman signed a three-year, $27 million deal.

Marshall represents an offensive upgrade over Jones, given that he can space the floor to the tune of shooting 38.7 percent from long range on 2.3 triple tries. Marshall is not as solid a perimeter defensive threat as Jones (now off to the L.A. Clippers), but he has an edge on length and height, meaning he may be more versatile defensively.

Then, the Mavericks made their big summer move, acquiring former five-time All-Star Golden State Warriors shooting guard/small forward Klay Thompson in a sign-and-trade. The 6-foot-7 swingman may not be the All-Defensive Team threat he was in his prime, but he’s still a lethal catch-and-shoot release valve from distance. Last year, the 34-year-old averaged 17.9 points on a .432/.387/.927 slash line (that 38.7 percent three point rate arrived on nine triple attempts).

The Mavericks offloaded useful young bench guard Josh Green in the deal, but managed to replace him in a subsequent trade.

Elsewhere, Dallas managed to offload the $16.2 million expiring contract of an aging Tim Hardaway Jr. plus three future second-round draft picks to the Detroit Pistons to acquire young guard Quentin Grimes, in a contract year.

Now, it appears the team may still address some other unfinished business around the fringes of its roster.

Luka Doncic #77 and Markieff Morris #88 of the Dallas Mavericks embrace during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals at American Airlines Center on May 26,…

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Veteran forward Markieff Morris announced on X that he intends to re-join the Mavericks next season, and hinted that he’s hoping to bring his free agent twin brother, Marcus, along with him:

I’m coming back. I want bro to come with me.

— Keef Morris (@Keefmorris) July 3, 2024

The Mavericks initially acquired Morris as a throw-in piece in the deal that sent Irving to Dallas via the Brooklyn Nets.

Last year, the 6-foot-9 Kansas product was essentially a part-time player, appearing in just 26 contests (one start) while averaging 2.5 points on .338/.357/.833 shooting splits, 1.5 rebounds, and 0.6 assists a night. Meanwhile, the 6-foot-8 Marcus Morris split his 2023-24 run between a pair of East contenders —the Philadelphia 76ers and the Cleveland Cavaliers — averaging a total of 6.4 points on .439/.403/.818 shooting splits and 2.7 rebounds.

Neither Morris brother, both of whom will turn 35 before the start of the 2024-25 season, appears likely to make a major impact on whichever team he joins. But both are fun enforcer types who could help in certain situations.

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“These components are smart!”

“After an active offseason, the reigning Western Conference champs may have some unfinished business along the fringes of their roster.”

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Source Link: https://www.newsweek.com/sports/nba/mavericks-news-free-agent-role-player-hints-return-reinforcements-1921698

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