Trades were officially back on the table on Monday morning as the moratorium ended at noon ET. It didn’t take long for things to get going as one future Hall-of-Famer was dealt within an hour. While the Mavs stayed quiet on day one of what will be a historically hectic week across the NBA, the moves made today and some of those rumored to be a possibility in the next few days are certain to have an impact on Dallas’ standing in the loaded Western Conference.
Our Mavs writers gathered to share our thoughts on some of the happenings around the NBA on Monday.
After seeing how well the Suns played in Orlando this summer, what are your thoughts on Phoenix’s trade for Chris Paul? What’s their ceiling/floor?
Reese Konkle (@RKonkle_Mavs): I like CP3’s fit in Phoenix. I think they’re a team that’s been searching for a lead guard for a while and they’re getting one of the best in the business in Paul. Devin Booker, while a terrific offensive talent, is better served sharing the primary role with another guard than being the only one to run the team and you’ll likely see the most efficient version of him because of it. Sprinkle in the talent of Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, and Cam Johnson and you’re really cooking with something. Given Paul’s health, I think they are a real playoff contender, but as we know that’s a big question. And it’s why I think there is some risk in the move. He’s older, expensive, and is often hurt. These are all things that made Paul a negative asset just last year and why I’m not sure this is the smartest move in the long term. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Michael Mulford (@TheMulf): It’s a great move for the Suns. They played out of their minds in the bubble, just missing out on a playoff berth. Booker is an emerging star in this league and DeAndre Ayton is on his way as well. Adding CP3 to that as a veteran leader and second ball handler takes a lot of pressure off of Booker and certainly adds to their postseason chances this season. With solid role players like Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson, as well as the draft and free agency to come, the Suns can put together a solid roster come December.
Dylan Duell (@DylanDuell): I’m not really Paul’s biggest fan based on how he has conducted himself on the court over the last fifteen years. That said, he deserves all the props in the world for how he professionally handled being dealt to Oklahoma City last season and helping a young squad make its way to the playoffs when the expectations were virtually nothing. I think Phoenix is a great situation for Paul at this stage in his career as it’s a team that obviously has the talent to succeed, they just need a little extra oomph and veteran leadership. Paul still provides that with an All-Star quality even at age 35. With that age in mind, this is certainly a risky move for the Suns as they are desperate to get back into the postseason for the first time since 2010 when their last Hall of Fame floor general, Steve Nash, was leading the team to an unexpected Western Conference Final at age 35.
Devin Booker and Chris Paul, together with the Suns now pic.twitter.com/kxV2rE5YLU
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 16, 2020
What do you make of the mess going on in Houston lately? Even if Harden and Westbrook were happy, would you consider the dealing the duo anyway after how last season ended? Do either/both get dealt before the season?
Reese: I absolutely would consider dealing them. That’s been something I’ve monitored for awhile now, considering that their team seems capped out. They’ve explored various coaches, styles of play, roster structures and none of it has worked. Not even a Finals appearance. And as often the case, it’s best to move on early than to hold on too long and get stuck. And Houston is teetering on that ledge. However, new owner Tilman Fertitta seems pretty stubborn, among other things. Does he want to completely blow it up and start over? I doubt it. I expect Harden to start the season in Houston. Westbrook will be somewhere else.
Mulf: First off, I feel for our guy Stephen Silas. Fresh on the job and he’s dealing with this hurricane. I think it’s expected from that group. With D’Antoni and Morey parting ways with the franchise and an owner who is questionable in his efforts, I’m not surprised that Harden and Russ may be looking elsewhere. I’d bet at least one of them gets dealt before Dec. 22. For the Mavericks, you’d hope it’s Harden to help eliminate a team from the Western Conference gauntlet.
Dylan: As a Mavericks fan, any turmoil with the Rockets is just delightful in my eyes. Like Reese said, Houston has been “going for it” with Harden as the man guy for what feels like forever now and in today’s NBA, it’s time to move on. That said, I don’t think the Rockets brass sees it as that way quite yet. Westbrook is certainly the harder contract to deal, but I would expect him to be the one moved if either is somehow dealt over the next month. How it works? No idea.
The Mavericks have been quiet so far, but obviously the week is just getting going. Just based on their expected returning players, do the Mavericks need to make a major move simply to remain a playoff team in the loaded Western Conference?
Reese: No, I don’t think so. I’m perfectly fine with them standing pat, making their picks and opting for tertiary, mid-level signings. I think that’s enough to keep them in the Playoff picture. After all, this is a big-picture operation. How can we maximize our presumably large window with Luka? A knee-jerk trade or move that compromises some of that window would be doing the organization a disservice, regardless of how much you want to win this season. I understand that KP missing some time could be problematic in their playoff pursuit, but I think they’ve built a good enough team to hold the fort down in his absence.
Mulf: Not a major move. Nothing major is necessarily needed, but an effective move is. As previously stated, the West is an absolute gauntlet. There are no easy games, and with KP potentially missing a month or two to begin the season, some help would be advised. And though Luka’s window seems to be large, you always want to capitalize as many times and as fast as you can. Who that may be? I’m not sure. Whether that’s trade or free agency, I’d expect the Mavs to be involved in every possible rumor, as they tend to always be.
Dylan: We may be the only trio of Mavs fans to be gathered in one digital place to agree that the team doesn’t need to totally swing for the fences this week. Like Reese said, a mega move that doesn’t work out could have disastrous effects on the Luka window. In today’s NBA, it is not a given that Luka is here for the next decade and the Mavericks are contending year in and year out. Each move has a consequence down the road and I’m not sure that the Mavericks have the assets to acquire a major talent that will clearly make the team significantly better this season. I would have no problem with them keeping their draft picks and then using their boosted status as a contender to lure players using their mid-level exception and the veteran’s minimum they have to offer in free agency.
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