The Dallas Mavericks benefited significantly from the impact Jalen Brunson provided alongside Luka Doncic as a secondary ball-handler. Spencer Dinwiddie, acquired at the midseason, was thought as being insurance in case Brunson were to depart.
Among the top options still available in free agency, Collin Sexton remains unsigned. He suffered a season-ending torn meniscus in his knee after appearing in 11 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2021-22. The injury came after he produced a career year the season prior with averages of 24.3 points and 4.4 assists.
There are a variety of complications in play when it comes to the idea of the Mavericks pursuing Sexton. The Cavaliers can simply match the offer sheet he signs since he’s a restricted free agent. The Cavs would need to be enticed to part with him in a sign-and-trade, so it starts there. Well, it may end there, too.
According to Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor on the Wine & Gold Talk podcast, the Mavericks are not willing to part with the assets desired by the Cavaliers in a sign-and-trade centered on Sexton.
“The Dallas Mavericks have been rumored as a team that may have interest because they lost Jalen Brunson,” Fedor said. “They don’t have cap space. So it would have to be a sign-and-trade worked out with the Cavs. And I’m told that the Cavs are not very attracted to any of the pieces that Dallas would be willing to send back to them in a potential sign-and-trade.”
What the Cavaliers are seeking in exchange for Sexton remains to be seen. Cleveland already has a lot of big man talent and has loaded up on guard depth this offseason, so it’s unlikely they’d be seeking a player at those spots. The Mavericks could hypothetically offer a 3-and-D wing or future draft capital if they’re willing to do so.
Sexton has made a “complete recovery” from his knee injury and is ready to play, it just remains to be seen for which team. There doesn’t appear to be many viable potential destinations for him based on how the market has played out. Many of the teams that entered the offseason either facing a need at point guard or simply had major cap space at their disposal no longer appear to be in the mix.
The New York Knicks focused on recruiting Brunson. While they clearly were among the most point guard-needy teams in the NBA entering the offseason, their primary target was clear from the start and resulted in a signing.
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The Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards were widely considered as being among the top potential suitors for Sexton. The marketplace has shifted dramatically to his detriment with none of those teams being interested.
The Pistons ended up being in prime position to select Jaden Ivey using the No. 5 pick in the NBA Draft. There was significant trade interest from teams around the league to trade up to the No. 4 pick from the Sacramento Kings to gain the necessary position to select Ivey. Instead, the Kings stood pat and used the selection to bring in Keegan Murray.
Using a trade to acquire Monte Morris, the Wizards took themselves out of contention for Sexton. Entering last season, they were counting on Dinwiddie to be their answer at this spot, but it became apparent rather quickly that it wasn’t going to work.
The Pacers are focused on their young core of Tyrese Haliburton, Bennedict Mathurin and Chris Duarte. There doesn’t appear to be motivation from Indiana to be big free-agency spenders, especially on guards.
Given the restrictive nature of the market for Sexton, there appears to be value in the Mavericks to monitor how it plays out. Perhaps they could get creative with a potential framework for a sign-and-trade if things do not trend toward a resolution with a different team. For now, Sexton remains one of the top names to watch that has yet to agree to a contact.
You can follow Grant Afseth on Twitter at @GrantAfseth.
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