The Dallas Mavericks kicked off their first season of the post-Dirk Nowitzki era Thursday night with a draft day trade that netted them Nebraska forward Isaiah Roby at No. 45 overall.
Dallas initially selected Deividas Sirvydis of Lithuania with their scheduled 37th pick, but agreed to trade his rights to the Detroit Pistons for Roby and two future second-round picks, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the trade was not yet official. The new league year starts July 6.
Dallas, which traded its first round pick to Atlanta as a result of last year's draft-day trade for Luka Doncic, now brings in Roby, who averaged 12 points and seven rebounds per game for the Cornhuskers.
The 6-foot-8 Roby will join a young Mavericks team led by 20-year-old Doncic, likely to the NBA's Rookie of the Year, and 23-year-old Kristaps Porzingis, acquired during the season from the Knicks and coming off a knee injury.
Roby played 97 games over three years at Nebraska before forgoing his final year of eligibility to enter the draft. He started 35 games last season for the Huskers, who finished 19-17 and made a run to the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament.
After the draft, Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson said he couldn't comment on the individual players in the trade due to league rules, but said he was happy with the team's draft.
"To get the same player you were targeting a little bit later in the second, plus pick up a couple of important assets, was good," Nelson said. "It was a good night."
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Dallas finished 33-49 last year and hasn't made the playoffs since 2015-16. The Mavericks will play their first season since 1997 without Nowitzki. The 21-year veteran and the NBA's sixth-leading scorer all-time retired following this past season.
In addition to Doncic, Porzingis and Roby, other Mavericks under contract for the upcoming season include: point guard Jalen Brunson, big man Dwight Powell, and 2019 trade acquisitions Tim Hardaway, Jr., Justin Jackson and Courtney Lee.
Nelson said the Mavericks would turn their attention to and be "very active" with the free agent market. The Mavericks have had some success in past years in this area, most notably with J.J. Barea, who has played 10 of his 13 seasons with Dallas and was part of their 2011 championship team.
Nelson said earlier Thursday that he expected the late first round and early second round of the draft to be among the most active in recent years, and that the Mavs could be part of that frenzy.
"Once you get closer (to selecting), if there's a player that a team covets, there's a flurry of phone calls," Nelson said. "Sometimes the price goes up, sometimes it goes down. I think you're going to see a lot of stuff happen in the 20s and the top half of the second."
He proved to be accurate, netting his team two future picks in the process.
SITTING OUT THE FIRST
Dallas, which has had only nine first-round picks in the past 20 drafts, was once again without their first-round pick. That pick went to Atlanta along with Trae Young for Doncic, who averaged 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists per game in his first year and didn't turn 20 until halfway through the season. Atlanta used the 10th pick, the one conveyed from the Mavs, to draft Duke's Cam Reddish on Thursday.
AP Sports Writer Noah Trister contributed to this report.