As the NBA draft approaches on June 26, ESPN Dallas examines the draft through the Dallas Mavericks‘ perspective this week.
If the experts are to be believed, this is supposed to be one of the deeper drafts the league has seen in quite some time. Many experts were saying that once you got through the initial wave of talent in last year’s draft, you were hoping to just find a rotational player. This year, teams are hoping there are at least three franchise-building pieces, creating a certain amount of depth that can bring talent throughout the lottery and beyond.
If that’s the case, teams like Dallas will be hoping there will be high-quality talent in the second round, especially considering the fact that the Mavs have one of the earlier picks in the second round.
The Mavs don’t have a first-round pick, but there was belief in the front office at different points throughout the season that they could find a trade to move into the first round. One asset at their disposal in an attempt to move into the first round is cash. Each year, teams are allowed to send and receive up to $3 million in cash in a trade. The calendar year for the NBA changes on July 1, after the draft on June 26. With Dallas not spending any of the money during the season for a trade, they have $3 million — the usual asking price to acquire a first-round pick — in their back pocket.
Several teams have multiple picks in a talent-rich draft. Philadelphia (picks 3 and 10), Orlando (picks 4 and 12), Utah (picks 5 and 23), Boston (picks 6 and 17), Charlotte (picks 9 and 24), Phoenix (picks 14, 18 and 27) and Chicago (16 and 19) all own multiple picks in the first round. History has shown it’s a coin flip in regard to whether teams will use both picks or use one to fetch a different kind of asset.
Cap space would come into play if the Mavs, who have roughly $30 million in cap space, find a way to move up into the first round. Their second-round picks aren’t guaranteed money or a roster spot, creating the luxury of flexibility. Moving into the first round would guarantee someone a roster spot. There are loopholes around this, such as stating that the selected first-round pick won’t sign for the team during that year.
If the Mavs were to trade into the first round and sign that pick, a cap hold would be placed before cap space was used. While a first-round pick wouldn’t put a huge dent in Dallas’ remaining cap space, it is something to consider as the team ponders whether to make that kind of trade.
Dallas has been opportunistic when these kinds of situations previously have come into play. In addition, the Mavs have been active over the last two drafts. While there haven’t been fireworks, they, like most teams in the league, were very active in regard to making trades on draft night.
The mindset of pick selection would certainly shift if the Mavs were able to trade into the first round. When you have picks Nos. 34 and 51, it’s not exactly as if you can go with a plan of drafting for need. With the options starting to slowly dwindle, you’re looking for BPA: best player available. If Dallas moves into the first round, there will be more available within the talent pool, giving the team the opportunity to look at a specific need, though BPA isn’t a bad way to go, either.
While the focus will be on second-round picks, the supply of teams with multiple picks may allow Dallas to be creative on draft night. Though it is not a given to move into the first round, it’s just another option in play for the Mavs.