Mavericks Gain Financial Flexibility, Josh Richardson Starts New Trade for the Celtics

Mavericks Gain Financial Flexibility, Josh Richardson Starts New Trade for the Celtics

For Dallas, however, to be able to land its reported biggest free-agent target, guard Kyle Lowry, it likely will require a sign-and-trade with Lowry’s current team, Toronto. The Mavericks have stated that re-signing Hardaway is their first priority in free-agency. If they can sign him for a starting salary in the $16 million to $20 million range, there still would be space to sign another free agent, and Dallas could have a mid-level exception (approximately $9.5 million) to sign another player or players. Last, but not insignificant, the Richardson deal also will create a $10.9 million trade exception for Dallas that can be used at any time in the next year. Dallas will be able to trade for a player whose salary is up to, but not exceeding, $10.9 million, but the trade exception can’t be aggregated as part of a larger acquisition.

— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 31, 2021 The Mavericks are now in position to possibly have up to $33M in cap space. However, using a majority of room could come at the cost of free agent Tim Hardaway Jr. https://t.co/csZnWAZRW3

Dallas will have as much as $34.3 million in cap space, but that figure can only be reached if Tim Hardaway Jr. does not re-sign with Dallas, and if the Mavericks do not exercise their $4.1 team option for center Willie Cauley-Stein for 2021-22. What will the Mavericks get in return from Boston? Relief. Potentially vital salary cap relief, and the relief of knowing how much cap space they will have entering Monday’s 5 p.m. start of free agency.

The Mavericks acquired Richardson on draft night last November, in a deal that sent Seth Curry to Philadelphia and the Sixers’ No. 36 overall pick, Tyler Bey, to Dallas. Dallas hoped that Richardson would provide needed perimeter defense, taking defensive pressure off of Doncic to have to guard opponents’ quicker point guards. Richardson almost certainly would not have commanded $11.6 million on the open market, and now he gets a fresh start with a Boston team that needs help – and a Celtics franchise that had a trade exception that was about to expire.

It’s certainly not a coincidence that the player agent who helped broker the deal is Bill Duffy, who also is Luka Doncic’s agent. It’s a win-win for all concerned. Richardson had until Sunday to make a decision about whether to opt in at $11.6 million or become an unrestricted free agent. Ultimately, he did Dallas two favors, opting in early and agreeing to a trade.

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