In an apparent move to free up salary cap space for a run at signing free agent Dwight Howard, the Dallas Mavericks traded down twice on Thursday night with one of those moves involving former Oregon State standout Jared Cunningham.
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 guard Shane 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 Cunningham, a point guard who was a first-round pick in 2012, and the 44th pick this year (Bucknell center Mike Muscala) to the Hawks.
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.
“I don’t want to get into talking about that stuff because I don’t want to get fined,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “But we have our eye on a lot of things right now, and we’re trying to create the best position to get both younger but also be opportunistic.”