Mar 17, 2013; Greensboro, NC, USA; Miami (Fl) Hurricanes guard Shane Larkin (0) looks to pass as North Carolina Tar Heels guard Dexter Strickland (1) defends in the second half. The Hurricanes defeated the Tar Heels 87-77 in the championship game of the ACC tournament at Greensboro Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Mavericks Dance Through the Draft and Keep Dwight Howard Hopes Alive

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Dreams of Dwight Howard are alive and well in Big D. The Mavericks are determined to build a team and cut costs at the same time. Sound impossible? The Mavericks can’t afford to pick up new salaries AND pay Dwight Howard, right?

A first round pick would cost money and inhibit the Mav’s ability to sign Howard this offseason so they set out on a mission: A mission to trade the pick back, thus reducing its cost and its impact on free agency. They were rumored to go international in order to stash the player on a European roster where the cap would be unaffected but word leaked that Dallas really liked Miami’s Shane Larkin.

Mar 28, 2013; Washington, D.C., USA; Miami Hurricanes guard Shane Larkin (0) passes as Marquette Golden Eagles guard Junior Cadougan (5) defends in the first half during the semifinals of the East regional of the 2013 NCAA tournament at the Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

After trading back twice, they used the 18th pick in the draft to select PG Shane Larkin from Miami. Larkin draft stock fell with a couple average workouts but he does hold some potential in the NBA even if he’s under 6ft tall. He projects as a safe project but most importantly keeps the hope alive for landing Dwight Howard since the Mavs are sure they will find a way to clear room elsewhere.

In Dallas the offseason has now begun…and with that beginning excitement can be found in spades. Earlier today, news broke by ESPN’s Chris Broussard that Dwight Howard is planning to leave LA and the team leading the race for D12′s services is the Dallas Mavericks. Houston is also in solid contention and until Dallas clears cap space, is the team to watch.

With Dwight possibly leaning towards Dallas, Mark Cuban has been looking for ways to free up cash in order to offer D12 a max contract. The easiest solution to clear cap space would be to trade former All-star, Shawn Marion. According to reports, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is hesitant to trade away Marion because Marion is still a good player, and Cuban feels a sense of loyalty his top defender.

Reports surfaced mid-draft that Dallas was in talks with the Atlanta Hawks about trading picks. At the last minute Boston was able to make an agreement with Dallas that would send the 16th pick and 2 future 2nd rounders to Dallas in exchange for Dallas’ 13th pick.

The 13th pick was used by Boston to select 7ft Gonzaga Center, Kelly Olynyk. Boston themselves are undergoing a roster makeover and have been in talks with New Jersey about sending Kevin Garnett and/or Paul Pierce.

When Dallas found themselves on the clock again at 16, news broke about deal to trade the pick to Atlanta. The 16th pick the 44th pick, along with Jared Cunningham will go to Atlanta in exchange for the 18th pick. Dallas has acquired picks in the second round next year, and reduces costs for this year.

Note: For as empty as the Dallas roster is, they are going to need those picks just to fill a bench.

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Tags: Dallas Mavericks Dwight Howard Shane Larkin

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