When the 2 PM Central time buzzer sounded on Thursday afternoon and there weren’t any last minute deals making their ways through the cracks, lots of Mavericks fans probably had one question on their mind:
While Thursday’s league-wide trade deadline ended up being a lot more eventful than suspected with the likes of D’Angelo Russell and Andre Drummond on the move, Donnie Nelson and the rest of the Mavericks brass opted to stand pat at the deadline. There had been shortage of rumors of players the Mavs might have been pursuing at multiple positions, including a last minute chance to connect with a summer crush, but ultimately the addition of Willie Cauley-Stein a couple weeks ago ended up being the last trade Dallas will make until after the season.
Here are some of the biggest takeaways/ramifications from Thursday’s quiet results:
They didn’t have assets (that they were willing to part with) to go big game hunting
The New York Times’ Marc Stein tweeted earlier this week that the Mavericks were definitely in the market for an upgrade to their wing rotation. While they had forever been linked to Andre Iguodala, it’s entirely possible that– if they wanted him– there might not have been anything the Mavs could have given up to make the ring-chasing, glamour lifestyle-seeking situation meet Iggy’s desires. As it turned out, Iggy was moved for much more than just Courtney Lee and a second round pick as he was a part of a much larger deal between the Grizzlies and Heat that eventually netted Iguodala an extension without even playing a game this season.
When the final massive four team trade that sent Robert Covington to Houston was announced earlier this week, it should have been obvious the Mavericks never really had a chance. It had been rumored that Minny was seeking multiple first round picks and Dallas simply did not have that to offer. The deal ultimately netted the Wolves a first round pick that should be somewhere around 14-16 if Brooklyn ends up squeaking into the playoffs, plus several other intriguing young players like Malik Beasley.
Finally, Danilo Gallinari certainly seemed to be an offensive juggernaut on the wing that could have helped the Mavericks this season. The Thunder’s unexpected rise to near-playoff lock status ultimately made Sam Presti and company reluctant to make a big move involving Gallo even though he is going to be an unrestricted free agent this summer. It seemed for a good 16 hours or so that Gallinari was going to be headed to Miami as part of the potential three team deal that sent Iguodala to the Heat, but things never materialized on that front because the Heat and Gallinari couldn’t agree on an extension. His salary of about $23 million this season made it difficult for any trade with the Mavericks not having to involve multiple very key role players that are locked down for a few more seasons at reasonable prices. With Gallinari likely to test the waters of unrestricted free agency in July, that would be the type of all-in deal the Mavericks simply wouldn’t be wise to make at this early point of their trajectory towards contention.
They legitimately love the team they currently have
It may surprise you to learn this, but the Mavericks aren’t as excited to get rid of Courtney Lee in any way possible as you are.
The Mavericks know that this roster has its flaws. This obviously isn’t the roster the team will have into perpetuity, but they aren’t just looking for any excuse to make a deal or get rid of someone on this team that has a really great locker room vibe. While Courtney Lee and J.J. Barea are DNP-CDs on the average night, second year guard Jalen Brunson referred to the pair as the “focal point” of the team’s leadership as their veteran presence shows the young guys the right way to go about things as a pro. While Brunson admits that this also is a very mature team that doesn’t need a ton of vocal leadership putting guys in their place, it’s still important to have multiple low maintenance 10+ year veterans who have been through playoff battles. Lee and Barea both provide that without the apparent uppity attitude of Iguodala.
This is a bunch of good, smart, mature players and the Mavericks coaching staff and front office want to see what they can possibly do together if given the chance to grow over the course of a full season or more.
Today wasn’t their last chance to make changes to the roster
The Mavericks seem to be a playoff lock. With two superstars in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis to go along with a championship-winning coach in Rick Carlisle, they should be a contender for just about anyone who becomes available on the buyout market later this month.
Earlier this decade, Dallas was able to add veterans like Amar’e Stoudemire for 23 games in 2015 and David Lee for 25 games in 2016 after buyouts during seasons where their potential playoff peaks seemed to be much lower than the excitement surrounding this season in an up-for-grabs Western Conference. Perhaps a Marvin Williams or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could become available to add to Dallas’ wing rotation. Of course, Dallas would need to clear a roster spot to add anyone else.
While the Mavericks ultimately make any real noise on deadline day, this is still going to be an exciting month of potential additions to the roster. Even if this ends up being the squad going into battle later this spring, Mavs fans should be at peace. This season has been a blast and will hopefully only get better once Luka Doncic returns to the court.
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