The Dallas Mavericks haven’t been a relevant team these days, but they are nevertheless making the right steps toward building another contender post-Dirk Nowitzki era. Last year’s draft has proven to be good for the Mavs as No. 9 overall pick Dennis Smith Jr. exceeded expectations for a rookie point guard. This year, Mark Cuban’s franchise can add yet another young piece to their core after ending up in the lottery for the second straight year. In fact, Dallas has the third best chance (13 percent) just behind the Memphis Grizzlies (19 percent) and the Phoenix Suns (25 percent) of winning the top pick.

Bagley or Doncic?

The 2018 NBA Draft class will feature several intriguing prospects with incredible upside in their game.

NBA writers think it won’t be as deep as last year’s class, though there are going to be some serious talents available from pick No.1 to No.10. Akshay Mirchandani of Dallas SportsDay opined that Duke’s Marvin Bagley III looks like the favorite pick for the Mavs at this early stage of the draft process. Of course, he’s not ruling out the selection of Real Madrid’s Luka Doncic if Dallas gets that opportunity.

The 19-year-old Slovenian has just been named to the All-EuroLeague first team after putting up 16.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game against grown men. His exploits at a young age are unprecedented in the history of a league that has produced some of the top-notch talents in the NBA, and that’s why many pundits, scouts, and executives see him as the eventual top pick in the upcoming 2018 NBA Draft.

Mavs poised to benefit from LeBron’s free agency

Thanks to cap-preserving measures done by the front-office in the first year of their rebuild, the Mavs will head into the free agency season armed with a significant buying power (cap space ranging from $25 million to $30 million).

Eddie Sefko, a columnist for Dallas SportsDay, thinks there’s a good chance the team will get a nice young talent because of LeBron James’ impact on the free agency market.

“If James leaves Cleveland, the team that acquires him will have to make roster changes, some teams more than others. Big-dollar players will have to be sacrificed, and to sweeten the pot smart teams might be able to also get some high-end young players.”

Multiple NBA teams are already gearing up for another summer of LeBron. The Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, and Philadelphia 76ers are viewed as the prominent suitors for the four-time NBA MVP, and experts expect each of these teams to go the extra mile just to create enough cap space for LeBron’s king-sized contract.

Sefko pointed out the eventual winner of the LeBron sweepstakes will eventually seek a trade partner capable of facilitating a salary-dump move.

The Mavs beat writer likes the team’s chance of salvaging blooming big man Clint Capela from the Rockets, two-way wingman Robert Covington from the Sixers, or hulking forward Julius Randle from the Lakers in the event one of these teams need to pull off a cap-clearing move. And if LeBron [VIDEO] decides to stick with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sefko said the scenario would open the door for the Mavs to go after DeMarcus Cousins.

Maintaining the long view

Sefko’s claim might sound a bit too optimistic, yet the reality is the Mavs really have a shot at these players. There are only a handful of teams that can rival Dallas’ buying power this summer, and most of these clubs are gunning for the elite free agents (LeBron and Paul George).

The Mavericks, meanwhile, want to build a championship team organically by picking the right players in the draft, and at the same time, integrating young veterans to the system. That kind of a vision is already paying dividends for the Boston Celtics and the Sixers, which both have promising futures after being patient with the process for quite some time. For the Mavs, that may be the right way to do it.