Even with Doncic, Mavs reality is another lottery pick

Now that the thrill of the Dallas Mavericks’ acquisition of the next great Euro import is fading, you should know this is still a lottery team.At least the Mavericks, unlike the local baseball team, is not scared to admit they are rebuilding.We are still two years away from this team making the playoffs, because this team still needs a few more players.A lineup of Dennis Smith Jr., Luka Doncic, Harrison Barnes, Dirk Nowitzki and a center-to-be-named later is an improvement, and it’s not cracking the top eight of the NBA’s Western Conference.NOTE TO READERS: If and when either LeBron James and/or Kevin Durant sign with the Mavs, this column is immediately null and void.Doncic is 19, and he is not going to lead a 24-win Mavs team into the playoffs next spring.”He’s going to get his rear-end handed to him,” Mavs president Donnie Nelson said a few hours after pulling off the trade with Atlanta to acquire him.Yep, because virtually all rookies do, and the Mavs are going to lose more than they win, even if their new center is DeAndre Jordan.Because the Mavs have been unable to sign notable free agents, they are approximately $38 billion under the NBA salary cap.The Mavs are only going to make a big jump when they find a real big man, or big men. Nerlens Noel was a Lamar Odom-sized fiasco.The best big who may be available is the man (child) who famously told the Mavs yes. Then said no. Actually, he never told them anything.Jordan just cowardly ghosted the Mavs, only to say later he had to be a man about it.He is reportedly mulling whether to opt in on the final year of his contract with the L.A. Clippers that will pay him $24.1 million next season. He has until Friday to make his decision.That’s right, the NBA’s most exciting season, free agency, begins Saturday. No point in a calendar has been any worse to the Mavs than July.You may recall it was Mr. Jordan who famously agreed to becoming the Mavs’ center in 2015. He verbally agreed to a max contract with Mavs owner Mark Cuban, only to back out a few days later and re-up with the Clippers, and specifically his “Lob City” teammates Blake Griffin and Chris Paul.”He is who we thought he was,” Cuban said in November of that year, before the first game of his former prized free agent recruit.Which explains why Cuban went completely Shark Tank on DJ to try to sign him.Paul now plays for Houston, and The Blake Show is in Detroit.The Clippers posted a winning record last season, but missed the playoffs. They aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

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