The Dallas Mavericks have benefited greatly from the impact provided by Jalen Brunson alongside Luka Doncic as a secondary ballhandler. Spencer Dinwiddie, acquired mid-season, was seen as insurance in the event of Brunson leaving.
Among the best options still available in free agency, Collin Sexton remains unsigned. He suffered a season-ending knee meniscus tear after playing 11 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2021-22. The injury came after he produced a career-high the previous season averaging 24.3 points and 4.4 assists.
There are a variety of complications at play when it comes to the idea of the Mavericks pursuing Sexton. The Cavaliers may just match the offer sheet he signs since he is a restricted free agent. The Cavs would need to be enticed to part ways with him in a sign-and-trade, so it starts there. Well, it can end there too.
According to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com on the Let’s talk wine and gold podcast, the Mavericks are unwilling to part with the Cavaliers’ desired assets in a Sexton-centric sign and trade.
“The Dallas Mavericks have been rumored as a team that might have interest because they lost Jalen Brunson,” Fedor said. “They don’t have cap space. So there would have to be a sign-and-trade deal with the Cavs. And I’m told the Cavs aren’t very keen on the plays that Dallas would be. ready to send back to them in a possible signing and exchange.”
What the Cavaliers are looking for 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’ll be looking for a player in those places. 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 “full recovery” from his knee injury and is ready to play, it just remains to be seen for which team. There don’t seem to be many viable potential destinations for him based on how the market is going. Many teams that entered the offseason, either faced with a need for a point guard or simply with major 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 most needy teams in the NBA at the start of the season, their main objective 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 the top potential suitors for Sexton. The market has changed drastically to his detriment, with neither of these teams being interested.
The Pistons ended up in a prime position to select Jaden Ivey using the No. 5 pick in the NBA Draft. There was significant trade interest from teams in the league to trade up to the Sacramento Kings’ No. 4 pick for the position needed to select Ivey. Instead, the Kings held on and used the selection to bring in Keegan Murray.
Using a trade to acquire Monte Morris, the Wizards pulled out of the race for Sexton. Going into last season, they were counting on Dinwiddie to be their answer there, but it became clear pretty quickly that it wasn’t going to work.
The Pacers are focusing on their young core of Tyrese Haliburton, Bennedict Mathurin and Chris Duarte. There doesn’t seem to be any motivation on Indiana’s part to be big spenders, especially on guard.
Given the restrictive nature of Sexton’s market, there seems to be value in the Mavericks to watch his progress. Maybe they could get creative with a potential framework for a signing and a trade if things don’t tend towards resolution with a different team. For now, Sexton remains one of the top names to watch who has yet to accept contact.
You can follow Grant Afseth on Twitter at @GrantAfseth.
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