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Luka Doncic’s potential new All-Star partner with Mavs, revealed

Luka Doncic, Mavs

The Dallas Mavericks know they’re not yet a top-tier contender in the NBA Western Conference. If they want to become an elite team, the Mavs need an equation-changing move in the offseason to help superstar Luka Doncic and new head coach Jason Kidd.

The offseason rumor mill — in full flight just before the 2021 NBA draft — has generated a juicy talking point: Kyle Lowry to Dallas to boost the Mavs.

NBA writer Zach Harper of The Athletic had this to offer in an expansive, wide-ranging column on the priorities and possibilities for dozens of NBA teams (including the Mavs) on the eve of the draft, just one week before free agency.

On the Mavs, Harper wrote:

The Mavericks are going hard after Kyle Lowry in free agency. Dallas has had some rough luck in the past, and everybody knows they want to bring back Tim Hardaway Jr. after the season he had. But Lowry is the biggest priority. Putting him next to Luka Doncic is a perfect fit because he can play off the ball and he can run the offense when Luka needs a break from those duties. He’s a knockdown shooter, a great defender and he has the culture and leadership qualities the Mavs desire.

Regardless of how likely it is that the Mavs will acquire Lowry, everyone who follows the NBA should be able to agree on this broader point: Dallas can’t lightly tweak or modestly adjust its roster. The franchise needs to take a big swing in pursuit of a game-changing set of players. Lowry qualifies as one.

While Kawhi Leonard is a better player, the Toronto Raptors would not have won the 2019 NBA championship without Lowry’s defense, floor game, toughness, and leadership. “Kyle Lowry over everything” became a mantra in Toronto for a team which — much like the 2021 champion Milwaukee Bucks — overcame a 2-0 series deficit during the playoffs to win it all. (The Bucks, of course, overcame two 2-0 deficits.)

The Mavs would indeed become a substantially better team with Kyle Lowry. Whether they can get him and give Luka Doncic a significant roster upgrade is the real question.

The 2021 NBA draft is Thursday night. NBA free agency officially begins on Monday evening of Aug. 2.