The Dallas Mavericks missed out on many opportunities to add other great players next to Luka Doncic during this free agency period thus far. It was clear from the playoffs that Luka Doncic needed other players who could take some of the offensive load off his shoulders. While they may have missed on their primary targets, the Dallas Mavericks still have an opportunity to get Luka Doncic some help.
Lauri Markkanen is a name that has been linked to the team before. He is a great floor-spacing big man who also has some finishing game. Markkanen has had an inconsitent role with the Chicago Bulls during his tenure there, and perhaps going to the Dallas Mavericks would allow him to have the role that he wants. While it is not a guarantee that the Dallas Mavericks get him, Tim Cato of The Athletic believes that the Mavericks have a "30-40% chance" at getting the Finnish big man.
I would also put the odds at Markkanen ending up in Dallas at 30 or 40 percent.
Cato also offered two avenues that the Dallas Mavericks could take to get Lauri Markkanen, with one scenario featuring the trade exception that they got from the Josh Richardson trade and the other saving the exception, but sending out Maxi Kleber.
Dallas would love to convince Markkanen to sign under his market value — and what is market value, if the market hasn’t provided him the $15 million annually he hoped for — and fit him into the team’s $11 million traded player exception (TPE). That’s beneficial for two reasons: 1) there’s less pressure for Markkanen to be anything but a useful rotational player for the team given his questionable fit starting next to Kristaps Porzingis, and 2) he’s an appealing player who’s still 24 and who the team could trade for a better-fitting one. Markkanen wouldn’t leap at that offer, especially since teams who still have the midlevel exception could also offer him contracts in that range, but he could eventually decide that’s his best business decision. Dallas would have to send something beneficial back to Chicago, but it would be draft- or prospect-related rather than a rotation player.
Dallas could offer Markkanen, say, a three-year deal worth $44 million and send back about $10 million in offsetting salary in a direct trade not involving its TPE. I’ve heard Chicago has interest in Kleber; it’s a riskier deal for Dallas giving up both a rotational player and signing Markkanen to a higher salary point. It might be a worthwhile gamble, although you would have to really talk me into it. Kleber has been the better player in past seasons — or, at least, the more useful one for a team with postseason aspirations. He’s struggled in both postseasons, but he was injured throughout the most recent series against the Clippers. Would you trade him and Trey Burke for Markkanen at that price point?
There is no question that the Dallas Mavericks have a lot of factors to weigh in a potential Lauri Markkanen deal. However the clock is ticking, and if they don't want him, then there's probably going to be another team that comes knocking. Lauri Markkanen has been linked with 4 different teams in a sign-and trade scenario in the past, with the Mavericks being one of them. It remains to be seen where he ends up, but it looks as though the Dallas Mavericks have some options available if they want to acquire him.