Western Conference early free agency moves put OKC Thunder on high alert

OKC Thunder Steven Adams, Russell Westbrook and Paul George. (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder Steven Adams, Russell Westbrook and Paul George. (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Kristaps Porzingis of Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images) /

As you can expect with a Mark Cuban lead team, the Dallas Mavericks had a wild 24 hours on day one.

The Dallas Mavericks, like always, have had an interesting offseason so far.

Like the Jazz offseason, the Mavericks cannot be talked about without mentioning a trade. Due to a trade that brought Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas at the deadline, the Mavericks were able to ink the big man to a max contract extension when free agency opened.

Inking Porzingis long term in itself is surprising, because when the trade went down, Porzingis wanted to accept the qualifying offer this offseason, and hit the open market, unrestricted, next offseason. After falling in love with Mavs young phenom, Luka Doncic, and the Mavericks training staff, the Unicorn decided to remain in Dallas and accept their long term offer.

In a way, this signing is like a new addition for the Mavericks. Porzingis spent last season rehabbing and did not touch the American Airlines Arena floor for regular season action. He looks primed and ready to start the season in Dallas, and pairing him with reigning rookie of the year Luka Doncic should scare OKC Thunder fans.

The Mavericks last year, without one of the best big men in the NBA, went 3-1 against the OKC Thunder, when the Thunder were clearly the better team.

Beyond Porzingis, Mavericks fans reviewed how much cap space Dallas had, and dreamed of adding  Kemba Walker, Al Horford, and other big fish on the market. In true Mavericks fashion, none of that happened.

Then, the Mavs made a trade for Heat guard Goran Dragic, or did they? The trade was supposed to help the Heat land Jimmy Butler, but instead, that fell through due to Mark Cuban thinking Pat Riley was offering high flyer Derrick Jones Jr, and the scrappy Kelly Olynyk.

So instead, the Mavericks just decided to run it back, re-signing Maxi Kleber to a four-year contract, the team also brought back JJ Barea.

The Mavs also reunited with sharpshooter Seth Curry, who previously spent two seasons in Dallas (though he missed the entire 2017-18 season with an injury). Dallas also is in on Danny Green, who many believe they could land if he does not return to the Toronto Raptors.

The Dallas Mavericks, on paper, are locked and loaded ready to compete for a playoff spot. The scary news for the OKC Thunder is the fact unlike the Jazz, the Mavs did not make the postseason a year ago. For Dallas to move into the top eight, someone has to drop down. You have to hope it is not the Thunder.