Dallas Mavericks Gave Up Too Much In Trade With Atlanta Hawks

By A.J. Speier
Jared Cunningham
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Knowing how badly owner Mark Cuban wants to sign Dwight Howard, the Atlanta Hawks took advantage of the Dallas Mavericks‘ need to shed salary.

The Mavericks entered the NBA Draft on a mission to create enough cap room to be able to offer Howard a maximum contract with a first-year salary of $20.5 million. At the beginning of the night, the Mavericks were within $3.8 million of their goal.

When it was time for the Mavericks to make their first selection with the 13th pick, the team had a choice of either paying a contract with a first-year salary of $1,655,300 or they could try to trade back.

The Boston Celtics offered their 16th pick and two future second round picks to move up three spots, and the Mavericks accepted, taking Gonzaga’s power forward Kelly Olynyk with the 13 pick and then shipping him to Boston, upon league approval.

Once the Mavericks were on the clock three picks later at 16, they faced a similar situation, but were worried about the Hawks taking point guard Shane Larkin with one of their next two picks at 17 and 18. As a result, the Mavericks decided to trade directly with the Hawks.

In order to ensure the Hawks chose German point guard Dennis Schroeder instead while awaiting league approval, the Mavericks were forced to part with the 16th and 44th overall pick, and their 2012 first-rounder Jared Cunningham.

By moving down five spots, the Mavericks saved $375,400 in picks. The Mavericks cleared Cunningham’s $1.2 million contract from their pocket book, but will still be forced to pay $490,000 of the amount as a roster fee.

As for the Hawks, the chance to move up didn’t cost them anything and they were able to get better value and add a former first-rounder at a cheaper price. The Hawks took Brazilian center Lucas Nogueira at 16, Schroeder at 17 and Mike Muscala at 44.

Cunningham played in only eight games for the Mavericks last year after missing summer league with a hamstring problem. He also played 15 games with the NBA D-League Texas Legends, averaging 15.3 points, three assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals a game before shutting it down in March due to tendinitis in his right knee.

Follow A.J. Speier on Twitter @Ajbisons for articles, news, and all things NBA

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