Could Luka Doncic make the Mavs a top free agent destination?
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks haven’t had much luck recruiting star free agents to Dallas over the last several years, but it’s possible that Luka Doncic could help change that, Sean Deveney writes in his latest Sporting News article. With longtime star Dirk Nowitzki on his last legs, Doncic looks like the Mavs’ next franchise player, and the idea of playing alongside the young star could appeal to players considering Dallas in free agency.

“It’s always hard to make that pitch and get over the hump with free agents,” a league source said to Deveney. “But they (the Mavericks) didn’t really have a chance with those guys. Players mostly like (owner Mark) Cuban, and they were always a compelling enough franchise to get in the room with LeBron (James) and Dwight Howard and other stars. But they could not present themselves as a team with a great future.

“They can do that now,” the source continued. “Not sure they can push a star to put his name on the line, but ‘Come play with Luka,’ it’s a better message.”

As that source hints, it still seems unlikely that the Mavs will be a serious player this summer for elite free agents like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving or Klay Thompson. However, Deveney believes that it might be worth the effort for the team to make an offer to one or more of those players. The franchise will have significant cap room this summer, and it would serve as a reminder that Dallas can still be an appealing destination for top players. Khris Middleton and DeMarcus Cousins could also be targets, Deveney adds.

Here’s more out of Dallas:

  • Michael Scotto of The Athletic previously reported that the Mavericks have interest in Otto Porter, which Deveney confirms. According to Deveney, though, the Wizards seem uninterested in moving Porter as a pure salary dump, and Dallas likely wouldn’t want to include draft picks or Dennis Smith Jr. as part of an offer to Washington.
  • Count Dirk Nowitzki among those optimistic about the Mavericks’ future, as Deveney relays. “We’ve been through some tough years — a lot after the championship — but the last couple, extremely tough,” Nowitzki said. “But we feel like we have got some great young guys. We drafted Dennis last year, and we drafted Luka this year. Those are some great young guys we can build around. They’re both only 20 years old or so. We have some cornerstones we can build on. Hopefully this franchise is going in the right direction.”
  • Jalen Brunson and Devin Harris are among the guards who could see increased workloads with J.J. Barea sidelined for the rest of the season, writes Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. As Caplan details, head coach Rick Carlisle called Barea’s torn Achilles a “gut-wrenching” injury.
  • The Mavericks applied for a disabled player exception as a result of Barea’s injury. Here’s our full story on what exactly that means.

This article first appeared on Hoops Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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