Otto Porter Jr., Jalen Brunson back-ups and more

The Mavericks’ free agency focus starts with Jalen Brunson.

Whether the 25-year-old point guard re-signs on a massive deal in Dallas or joins the New York Knicks for a starring, family-centered move, Brunson’s decision will dictate the Mavericks’ offseason needs and path forward.

Then what?

Beyond the rights to offer Brunson a five-year deal up to $175 million, the luxury-tax-strapped Mavericks can offer free agents the taxpayer midlevel exception (up to $6.339 million this season on a contract up to three years) and minimum deals.

Here are 10 names beyond Brunson’s to follow when the NBA’s unrestricted free-agent negotiating window opens at 5 p.m. CT Thursday.

Goran Dragic

Position: Guard

Age: 36

Last year’s team/contract: Brooklyn Nets, $728,742 on midseason buyout market

Potential next salary: Veteran minimum

Why the Mavs? If only so Luka Doncic fans can finally see the fellow Slovenian, who’s known and mentored Doncic since childhood, team up in Dallas. Dragic is a free agent for the first time since Doncic entered the NBA and would add ball-handling depth and veteran savvy, whether or not Brunson returns.

Gary Harris

Position: Shooting guard

Age: 27

Last year’s team/salary: Orlando Magic, $20.48 million

Potential next contract: Taxpayer midlevel exception

Why the Mavs? After trading for Christian Wood during the draft process, the Mavericks emphasized two-way wing depth as their next target upgrade. Harris is one of the best 3-and-D options on the open market this offseason, so expect him to command significant interest from playoff-expectant teams.

Isaiah Hartenstein

Position: Center/power forward

Age: 24

Last year’s team/salary: Los Angeles Clippers, $1.7 million

Potential next contract: Taxpayer midlevel exception

Why the Mavs? In 2021-22, Hartenstein averaged 8.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting 62.6% from the floor during a season in which the Clippers converted his two-way contract to a full guarantee midway through. Hartenstein would boost the Mavericks’ presence at the rim and play-making down low.

Derrick Jones Jr.

Position: Forward

Age: 25

Last year’s team/salary: Chicago Bulls, $9.7 million

Potential next contract: Taxpayer midlevel exception

Why the Mavs? Jones could add to the Mavericks’ defense-first focus under coach Jason Kidd as an athletic big off the bench to fortify the rotation. Jones almost became a Maverick at the start of 2019 free agency, but Dallas’ inclusion in the multiteam trade that sent Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat fell through.

JaVale McGee

Position: Center

Age: 34

Last year’s team/salary: Phoenix Suns, $5 million

Potential next contract: Taxpayer midlevel exception or veteran minimum

Why the Mavs? McGee is familiar with the Mavericks on several levels. His playing time decreased in the small-ball second-round series this spring, but he still pounded Dallas for 4.3 rebounds in less than 12 minutes a game. He also knows Kidd and a few members of the Mavericks’ coaching staff from the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2020 NBA Finals run.

Malik Monk

Position: Shooting guard

Age: 24

Last year’s team/salary: Los Angeles Lakers, $1.79 million

Potential next contract: Taxpayer mid level exception

Why the Mavs? In a tumultuous season with the Lakers, Monk’s increasing consistency and reliability shined while averaging a career-best 13.8 points on 47.3% from the floor. The 2017 lottery pick outplayed his veteran-minimum contract to emerge as a potential fallback option if Brunson departs to leave a big void in the Mavericks’ backcourt rotation.

Theo Pinson

Position: Shooting guard/small forward

Age: 26

Last year’s team/salary: Mavericks, two-way deal

Potential next contract: $1.94 qualifying offer

Why the Mavs? After his December arrival as a COVID 10-day replacement, Pinson fostered such strong team chemistry that the Mavericks converted him to a two-way contract for the rest of the year, and he led the fine-wielding bench hype squad throughout the second half of the season. With no more two-way eligibility, Pinson will probably receive the qualifying offer and opt to stay in Dallas with hopes of working into a rotation option.

Otto Porter Jr.

Position: Forward

Age: 29

Last year’s team/salary: Golden State Warriors, $2.4 million

Potential next contract: Taxpayer midlevel exception

Why the Mavs? Porter flashed his potential fit with Dallas throughout Golden State’s championship run, including in the Western Conference finals against the Mavericks. Though his durability remains a question, Porter’s 2021-22 averages of 8.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 37% 3-point shooting over 63 games should make him one of Dallas’ most-coveted targets this offseason.

Taurean Prince

Position: Forward

Age: 28

Last year’s team/salary: Minnesota Timberwolves, $13 million

Potential next contract: Taxpayer midlevel exception

Why the Mavs? The San Antonio native and Baylor product, who shot 37% from 3 off the bench during Minnesota’s resurgent season, could add to the Mavericks’ defensive feistiness — a trait they know well. Recall Prince received a $15,000 fine for an obscene gesture during a spat with Doncic during a matchup in March.

TJ Warren

Position: Small forward

Age: 28

Last year’s team/salary: Indiana Pacers, $12.7 million

Potential next contract: Veteran minimum

Why the Mavs? Warren hasn’t played since December 2020 — including all of the 2021-22 season — because of a left foot injury, but the Pacers said Warren had progressed well in their last update in March. Warren’s full-health upside could net Dallas a productive former starter who appeared to be a playoff-bound team centerpiece before his long-term absence.

Find more Mavericks coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

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