Boston owns Dallas' first-round pick in the 2016 draft as part of its haul in the Rajon Rondo trade last December. The pick is top-seven protected, but that would seemingly only come into play if the Mavericks elected to purposely tank.
While Dallas owner Mark Cuban said the Mavericks had considered going that route if they didn't land Jordan -- this when Cuban assumed the big man would honor his commitment to come to Dallas -- it would seem that Dallas has enough remaining talent to not be among the league's bottom feeders. Would the Mavericks really tank in the twilight of Dirk Nowitzki's career?
Barring additional moves with newfound cap space that would beef up the Mavs' roster, the more likely scenario is that Dallas is a fringe playoff team in the West, especially when you consider the health status of Wesley Matthews and Chandler Parsons at the start of the new season.
Best-case scenario for Boston is the Mavericks falter in a playoff push and deliver a potential late lottery pick. Worst-case scenario is the Mavericks find a way to use their cap space to add other impact talent, and deliver a late first-round pick if they somehow emerge as a legitimate contender.
And if Dallas does go the tank route? That Mavericks pick is top-seven protected through 2020 (and becomes unprotected in 2021), and Boston would simply hope Dallas couldn't go from tank to super competitive quickly, and might deliver a quality pick as early as next season.
The Celtics can relate a bit to the Mavericks' disappointment in losing out on Jordan. It was two summers ago when Boston reportedly explored a deal that would have delivered both coach Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett to the Clippers in exchange for Jordan. The league moved in and squashed the deal (Boston settled for a first-round pick, which it used to select R.J. Hunter at No. 28 in June's draft).