NBA Free Agency: Mavericks options for their final roster spot

As expected, the Dallas Mavericks fully guaranteed the contracts of Maxi Kleber and Frank Ntilikina over the weekend, leaving one remaining roster spot for the 2022-23 season. While there are no definitive reports, the Mavericks appear to be one of perhaps several teams on hold while everyone waits to see what the Brooklyn Nets do with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Marc Stein reported that the Mavericks may consider leaving the pitch open to go to training camp. The only player they were fully connected with, Goran Dragic, has since signed a contract with the Chicago Bulls. So whether there’s no one they’re committed to, or whether they want to leave the space open in case they need to take an additional player back in a larger trade remains to be seen.

But if the Mavericks decide not to wait any longer and be part of that marquee deal, there are still a few players on the open market who might have a need and might be willing to take on a veteran minimum contract for the season. These aren’t jump-out, season-defining moves. But they could identify a budget acquisition and potentially add to its depth.

Jeremy Lamb

Jeremy Lamb, 30, has leaped through the league in his 10 years as a pro. In the seasons prior to LaMelo Ball’s draft, he was a key offensive player for the Charlotte Hornets. Between his four seasons at Charlotte and his first two with the Indiana Pacers, the 6’5 wing averaged 11.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting 34 percent from three. Last season, he was part of the Domantas Sabonis deal that sent a package of players to the Sacramento Kings, where his production plummeted in 17 games.

Lamb may not be tall enough (reported at just 180 pounds) to play full-time as a backup small-forward, but he has the length to play both wing positions. It’s unclear who might start alongside Doncic in backcourt if JaVale McGee starts in the middle, but whatever it takes the Mavericks to get another wing off the bench. Lamb has the experience to be a Spot contributor.

PJ Lecturer

Dozier, who was invited to a former Mavericks training camp in 2017, eventually established himself as a key reserve for the Denver Nuggets over the past three seasons before tearing his cruciate ligament in November. If you remember this fall, the Mavericks saw potential in Dozier as an ultra-long ball handler who, in many ways, has become the 6’6 winger with the Nuggets.

Reports from June indicate that Dozier has been cleared for basketball activities and that he should be available for fall camp. Dozier is still around, likely due to the injury, and most recoveries last up to a full calendar year. But if the Mavericks still leave that roster spot open, Dozier could be the perfect choice while he continues in rehab. While he wasn’t the goalscorer that Lamb was in his career, he has skills the Mavericks need in reserve minutes. He turns 26 in October so this would not be an investment in a veteran who may take longer to recover.

Ben McLemore

The 29-year-old guard never developed into the talent one would hope from a lottery pick (the Sacramento Kings drafted him 7th in the 2013 NBA draft), as evidenced by the fact that he has six made various stops and played for five different teams in his nine seasons. But he’s an NBA body with experience and a proven ability to speak up as a marksman on a distributed offense.

In that regard, he’s been at his best for the past three seasons, playing with James Harden for the Houston Rockets, LeBron James for the Los Angeles Lakers, and Damian Lillard for the Portland Trail Blazers. That said, he’s used to playing off a heliocentric top scorer. In those three seasons, he’s shot 37 percent from three to six tries per game. His defense leaves a lot to be desired and he won’t fulfill any ball handling needs. But here, too, the aim is to fill in the chord.

Tyler Dorsey

Dorsey is included here after a report surfaced on the fourth from Yahoo Sports’ Krysten Peek that the Mavericks held a private practice session with the former Oregon Duck. The 6’5 shooting guard was drafted in the second round by the Atlanta Hawks in 2017 before spending part of his second (and final) NBA season with the Memphis Grizzlies. He shot 35 percent from three for a total of 331 attempts.

Since then, Dorsey has played abroad, first with Maccabi Tel Aviv, then at Olympiacos, where he was the team’s second-best goalscorer and helped lead them to the EuroLeague Final Four. How his skills translate into the league isn’t clear given his absence, but his stats show he can still shoot the ball – he’s scored nearly 40 per cent from three international goals.

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