The Mavericks Expensive Extension for Maxi Kleber, Premature?

Sep 12, 2022

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DALLAS, Texas – Maxi Kleber is about to sign a three-year, $33 million contract extension with the Mavericks, according to a tweet from Shams Charania, which will keep him with the team until 2025–2026. There is no disputing Kleber’s contributions to the court. He is the key to playing five out on offense since he is the most adaptable defender. 

However, why? Why now? The agreement was made in the vicinity of the non-taxpayer mid level exception, which seems to be consistent with where his market would have stood at the end of the season. The question is how long the contract will last. While we could have offered Kleber a third year in free agency, he didn’t give the team a bargain. By offering Kleber this contract, the team is now taking on all of the long-term risk while giving Kleber some stability.

Kleber has developed into a crucial component of the Mavericks’ rotation in his five years in Dallas. In the playoffs, they asked him to protect Kawhi Leonard, and after dealing Kristaps Porzingis this past season, he allowed them to play a 5-out offense. In January, Kleber will turn 31. 

Kleber is an excellent deal at $11 million each season. There aren’t many switchable defenders who can genuinely play center, but every team needs them to spread the floor. Kleber is the kind of role player who can make a difference in playoff games; in Game 2 of the first round in April, he heated up and disrupted the Utah Jazz’s defense.

In that 110-104 victory, Kleber scored 25 points on 8 of 11 shooting, all from beyond the arc. He helped the Mavs grab a 2-1 series lead in the following game with 17 points on 6-for-7 shooting and 4-for-5 from long range while superstar Luka Doncic was out due to injury.

The ideal Kleber is that one. If he consistently behaved in that manner, earning $11 million a year would be absurd. In the following three games against Utah, Kleber scored a total of 10 points while shooting 2-for-10 from 3-point range. Then, in the first game against the Phoenix Suns, Kleber scored 19 points while shooting 5-for-8 from beyond the arc. He was essential in the Suns series, aiding Dallas in a stunning upset, but offensively he faltered in the conference finals against the Golden State Warriors. He didn’t just go 5-for-19 from beyond the arc; after going cold, he passed up several clear opportunities.

Retaining Kleber on a deal that benefits the Mavs provides them choices. With Christian Wood and JaVale McGee in the mix, their frontcourt rotation is suddenly congested despite the roster’s plenty of reliable players with respectable contracts. In the short term, Jason Kidd’s coaching staff can experiment with different lineup combinations; in the medium term, the front office, led by Nico Harrison, can package players and picks in trade proposals. (They should have offered Jalen Brunson a three-year, $56 million extension a year ago, but at least they managed to get Dorian Finney-Smith to sign one.) Dallas doesn’t yet have a co-star for Doncic, but it has a lot of supporting actors who work well with him, including Kleber.

Were the Dallas Mavs hasty in extending a valuable but flimsy player’s deal before they had to?  Is the decision so far proving to be premature?

The 30-year-old Kleber will turn 31 in January, and he has already begun to exhibit indications of losing it. The team will approach the season with a plan for how to protect his body and make sure he is healthy for the postseason, much like Porzingis did before him. To the best of his abilities, Kleber, a part-time player, should play 20 to 25 minutes each night. Kleber has been forced to play a lot of minutes because of roster construction, which has hurt the thread on his tires.

This agreement will seem horrible before it even goes into effect if Kleber is unable to remain healthy over the forthcoming season. The Mavericks would have benefited more from letting the season run out before agreeing to pay him for his age-34 season. Furthermore, it is premature to conclude that this contract is a valuable trade asset because of the low average yearly salary. Since Kleber is not a young player, a team won’t be able to get more for him in a trade due to team control and contract length. In fact, every year that the lease is extended will make it more difficult to move. His age and performance may make a trade tough by the time a team is ready to take on the remaining years.

And though the assessment may be found trivial, numbers definitely are the best to consult regarding such.

Check out Maxi Kleber’s stats

German-born professional basketball player Maximilian Kleber plays for the Dallas Mavericks in the National Basketball Association. He plays the power forward position at 2.08 meters.

Born: January 29, 1992 (age 30 years), Würzburg, Germany

Nationality: German

Weight: 109 kg

Height: 2.08 m

NBA draft: 2014


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