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Windhorst: Mavericks Will 'Be at the Head of the Line' for Giannis in 2021

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 13, 2020

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) in the second half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game against the Miami Heat Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Add the Dallas Mavericks to the list of teams hoping to sign Giannis Antetokounmpo when he becomes a free agent in 2021.

"The Dallas Mavericks are gonna be at the head of the line in pursuing Giannis. They want to have a third star," ESPN's Brian Windhorst said Tuesday on The Jump (h/t RealGM). 

This pursuit could cause them to remain relatively quiet this offseason.

"They want to keep their books clear for 2021," Windhorst said. "I wouldn't expect them to add any major free agents this year. They're going to wait."

The Mavericks already have two top young players in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, which was good enough to earn the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference this season.

Doncic is only two years into his career and already has a Rookie of the Year award, an All-Star selection and was first-team All-NBA this season. He averaged 31.0 points, 9.8 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game during the playoffs, fighting the Los Angeles Clippers for six games before losing in the first round.

If the 21-year-old continues to improve, the Mavericks should be a top contender in the West regardless of additions.

Of course, adding Giannis could make the team almost unstoppable in a couple of years.

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Antetokounmpo has won the MVP award in each of the past two seasons, adding the Defensive Player of the Year award this year. The problem has been his lack of playoff success with the Milwaukee Bucks, losing before the NBA Finals in each of the last two years.

Going another year without a championship could force the forward to look elsewhere when he becomes a free agent.

Dallas will keep an eye on Giannis, keeping its books open just in case. The Mavericks are currently set to owe more than $8 million each to Porzingis ($31.7M), Doncic ($10.2M), Dwight Powell ($11.1M), Maxi Kleber ($8.8M), Delon Wright ($8.5M) and Seth Curry ($8.2M) in the 2021-22 season.

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