DALLAS (AP) — The Dallas Mavericks have a new point guard. They've also made it clear they plan to make a run at center Dwight Howard in free agency.
The Mavericks ended up with Miami guard Shane Larkin after a pair of trades to move down in the NBA draft Thursday night, clearing a little more salary cap space to go after Howard.
A person with knowledge of the deals told The Associated Press that Dallas took Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyk at No. 13 and sent that pick to Boston, then traded the 16th pick — Brazilian center Lucas Nogueira — to Atlanta for the rights to Larkin. The son of Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin was taken 18th by the Hawks.
Dallas got two future second-round picks from Boston and sent 2012 first-rounder Jared Cunningham, a point guard, and the 44th pick this year to the Hawks. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because all of the deals hadn't been announced.
The Mavericks saved a little more than $1 million in salary cap space by moving down five spots and dumping Cunningham. But it will cost them about that amount to keep Larkin, and Dallas entered the draft needing to clear about $4 million in cap space to give Howard a max contract.
With or without Howard, the Mavericks are remaking their roster for the third straight year since winning the franchise's first championship in 2011. Larkin is a start.
Last year, Dallas got Darren Collison from Indiana and turned over the offense to him after Jason Kidd reneged on a deal to return and went to the New York Knicks for what turned out to be his final season.
But Collison twice lost the starting job to aging veterans and ended up as a change of pace off Rick Carlisle's bench. Since he considers himself a starter, the return of Collison appeared unlikely.
It's even more unlikely if the Mavericks keep Larkin, the ACC player of the year as a sophomore after leading the Hurricanes at 14.5 points and 4.5 assists per game.
Larkin is quick and athletic, and the Mavericks need both as they try to return to championship contention while 35-year-old Dirk Nowitzki is still among the elite. Dallas missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 2000.