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Dallas Mavericks land pair of playoff veterans in busy day

Grant Williams

The Mavericks acquired more defense and a shooter for Luka Doncic. Another Texas team assisted as well.

Dallas signed Grant Williams of Boston to a four-year, $53 million contract. Williams was a critical reserve for the Celtics in the playoffs, playing strong defense and shooting 43.3% from three-point range, but Boston elected not to match his contract.

Perhaps it was because they added Kristaps Porzingis. Or they valued the second-round picks or the $6.2 million trade exception.

Williams was a restricted free agent, but Dallas kept their mid-level exception by declaring the move a trade. They promptly used it to sign another restricted free agent, Matisse Thybulle of Portland.

Thybulle was named to the All-Defensive Second Team in both 2021 and 2022. Despite his offensive limitations, Dallas is wagering that with Doncic and Kyrie Irving, they won’t need Thybulle to shoot. They’ve prioritized defenders for their team, which finished sixth in the NBA in defensive rating last year.

Why did San Antonio assist their competitor by taking on Reggie Bullock’s contract and trading second-round picks? Because they are planning ahead of time. Seven years in the future.

In 2030, the Spurs got an unprotected first-round pick in a trade with the Mavericks. They’re essentially shorting Mavericks stock, which provides them with a potentially attractive selection if Dallas struggles in 2029-30.

While the cost was significant, the Spurs now have more future picks than roster places – they had 14 first-round picks and 17 seconds over the next seven years. Spending a few dollars for a chance at a terrific future pick is a great bet.

Especially since Victor Wembanyama will be 26 years old and at the prime of his career in 2030. Dallas is superior now, but San Antonio has the potential to be much better in the future.