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Could the Mavericks Have Made a Better Deal For Paul George?

Photo:  Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Free Agency kicked off last night in the only way the NBA Off-Season can–insanity and hilarity.  Paul George was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a deal that not only seemed fake but OKC had never even been mentioned as a suitor for George.  Apparently, even some NBA Executives were amazed.

 

By all accounts, the Mavericks were quiet last night.  The only real report was that the Mavs call with restricted Free Agent Nerlens Noel was ‘great.’  This now becomes a waiting game for the Mavericks because the team can match any offer sheet Noel signs from another team.  

 

It would be hard to imagine the Mavericks didn’t at least place a call for Paul George like they did for Kristaps Porzingis, and after the deal that was made it would also be hard to imagine the Mavericks couldn’t top it.

The final deal that sent Paul George over to OKC to team up with Russell Westbrook was simply for Vitor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.  Rumors were flying that the Pacers wanted a young piece and a draft pick–a super low price for a perennial All-Star and sought after talent like George.  

Victor Oladipo is an interesting player, but some executives might not feel the same way.  Oladipo was owed exactly $21,000,000 each of the next three years and in some eyes that might be a little too much… 

 

 

A ‘salary dump’ literally means a contract is so bad that the original team had to give something up in order to remove that player and their contract off of their books.  A good example of this was the trade the Lakers just made with the Nets.  The Lakers had to send D’Angelo Russell with Timofey Mozgov to the Nets to get out from under Mozgov’s $16,000,000 salary.1  If this trade is viewed as a salary dump by at least one NBA Executive, then the Mavericks could have beat it for sure.  

The other piece the Pacers reportedly wanted was a draft pick.  They kind of received that in Sabonis, the 11th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, but after a year of underwhelming play there may be a better option elsewhere.  

There are also some rumors floating around that the Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard did not want to trade George to a team in the Eastern Conference so the Mavericks apply to that stipulation as well.  This is most likely the reason Paul George isn’t on the Celtics, it’s a bad one but it’s the only explanation we have… 

So, what would an offer look like from the Mavericks? 

There are a few deals that the Mavs could construct that the Mavs would absolutely not do, but it would get a deal done.  For example any combination of Dennis Smith Jr and the appropriate salaries or a sign-and-trade with Nerlens.

Dennis Smith Jr, Dwight Powell, and Devin Harris for Paul George2

Sign & Trade Nerlens Noel for Paul George

Both of those deals would jeopardize and handicap the Mavericks future while making the present extremely fun (at least for a year).  If the Pacers wanted a young3 piece and a draft pick here are some deals that the Mavs could have constructed to make that work.  

Seth Curry, Dwight Powell, Devin Harris, and a 2018 First Round Pick for Paul George

This deal works for both sides.  Seth Curry would be a great fit next to Myles Turner, a young4 piece in Dwight Powell5, and a draft pick.  Also, however the Mavs value Seth Curry6, a year of Paul George would be better than a year of Curry. 

This deal is closer to the deal that the Clippers and Rockets made for Chirs Paul, but if the Mavs wanted to go full CP3 in a deal for George it might look like this…

Seth Curry, Dorian Finney-Smith, Dwight Powell, Devin Harris, AJ Hammons, Salah Mejri, Nicolas Brussino and a 2018 First Round Pick for Paul George

Ok, ok, so that’s more an inditement on what the Clippers received for Chirs Paul but it might work.  If the Pacers were interested in Wes Matthews the deals could get more interesting.  Before the Off-Season it seemed insane that the Pacers would consider this deal, but wouldn’t they think about it now?

Wes Matthews, Seth Curry, and a 2018 First Round Pick for Paul George

If the Pacers want (when the Mavs are able to) they could send Yogi Ferrell or Dorian Finney-Smith in that deal as well7.  Those deals are not ideal for the Mavericks because George would be a Free Agent at the end of the season, but any of those deals seem better than the perceived “salary dump” the Pacers received with no draft picks.  Are they all realistic? Not really… But in three years will either Oladipo or Sabonis even be on the Pacers?8

 

  1. Sometimes I like to show the 0’s for impact
  2. No offense to Dwight and Devin but their salaries combined with the pieces the Pacers would actually want makes this work
  3. Young-ish, Dipo is 25
  4. YOUNG-ISH
  5. STOP LAUGHING
  6. Who is actually only 3 months younger than George
  7. SEND ANYONE
  8. Probably but man this was a bad deal…

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