The Dallas Mavericks benefited significantly from the impact Jalen Brunson provided alongside Luka Doncic as a secondary ball handler. Spencer Dinwiddie, acquired mid-season, was thought to be insurance in case Brunson left.
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 previous season with averages of 24.3 points and 4.4 assists.
There are a variety of complications at play when it comes to the idea of the Mavericks going after Sexton. The Cavaliers can just match the offer sheet he signs, since he’s a restricted free agent. The Cavs would need to be lured away from him in a sign-and-trade, so he starts there. Well, he can end there too.
According to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com on the Wine and gold talk podcast, the Mavericks are unwilling to part with assets desired by the Cavaliers in a Sexton-focused sign-and-trade.
“The Dallas Mavericks have been rumored to be 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 deal with the Cavs. And they told me the Cavs aren’t very attracted to any of the pieces that Dallas would be willing to trade.” send back to them in a possible sign and trade.
It remains to be seen what the Cavaliers are looking for in exchange for Sexton. Cleveland already has a lot of big-man talent and has built up depth at guard this offseason, so it’s unlikely they’ll look for a player in those spots. The Mavericks could hypothetically offer a 3-y flank or a future capital draft if they’re willing to do so.
Sexton has “fully recovered” from his knee injury and is ready to play, it just remains to be seen for which team. There doesn’t seem to be many viable potential destinations for it based on how the market has developed. Many of the teams that entered the offseason, either because they needed a point guard job or simply had a lot of salary-cap space at their disposal, no longer seem to be in the mix.
The New York Knicks focused on recruiting Brunson. While they were clearly among the teams most in need of point guards in the NBA entering the offseason, their primary goal 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 among Sexton’s top potential suitors. The market has changed drastically to his detriment and none of those teams are interested.
The Pistons ended up being in a prime position to select Jaden Ivey using the No. 5 pick in the NBA Draft. There was significant commercial interest from teams across the league to trade the No. 4 pick from the Sacramento Kings to gain the position needed to draft Ivey. Instead, the Kings stood their ground and used the pick to bring in Keegan Murray.
Through a trade to acquire Monte Morris, the Wizards were out of contention for Sexton. Going into last season, they were counting on Dinwiddie to be his answer at this point, but it quickly became apparent 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 seem to be any motivation for Indiana to spend a lot in free agency, especially on shooting guards.
Given the restrictive nature of the market for Sexton, it seems the Mavericks have the nerve to monitor how it plays out. Perhaps they could be creative with a potential framework to sign and trade if things don’t tend to a resolution with a different team. For now, Sexton remains one of the top names to watch as he has yet to accept a contact.
You can follow Grant Afseth on Twitter at @GrantAfseth.
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