The 2018 NBA trade deadline is looming and the rumor mill is reaching a fever pitch.
I’ve long maintained a “never say never” mindset in regards to this time of year, because we simply do not know the full extent of the conversations NBA teams, including the Mavericks, are having with each other.
To summarize, EVERYONE is asking about EVERYONE.
The Mavericks have been linked to Orlando, Charlotte and the Kings for certain. Dallas’ stated aim is to use it’s $13M in cap space to absorb bad contracts in exchange for young players and/or picks. Teams like Orlando fit that bill perfectly.
Dallas’ stated role with teams like Charlotte and the Kings is that of a third-team facilitator and not a direct partner. Any rumors connecting Dallas directly to Kemba Walker are just that; rumors. However, Dallas does have reported interest in facilitating a trade as a third team should Michael Jordan find an all-star he deems worthy of Charlotte’s franchise point guard.
The latest bits of Dallas news includes the Pelicans and the Knicks. The Athletic’s Mike Scotto reported that Dallas contacted New Orleans about a deal involving Wes Matthews for Alex Ajinca, Omer Asik and New Orleans’ 2018 first-round pick (top-five protected). The Mavericks ultimately declined the deal and New Orleans traded those players along with Tony Allen, Jameer Nelson and a second-round pick to Chicago for Nikola Mirotic.
It’s too early to tell if Dallas made a mistake in not taking this deal. New Orleans’ pick currently sits at No. 17. Ajinca has roughly $6M left on his deal through 2019 and Asik has roughly $25M in salary through 2020.
If you factor in the cost of Wes’ pro-rated 2017-18 salary (roughly $7M), the Mavericks would’ve been taking on nearly $24M in dead money through 2020 for a mid-to-low end first.
Dallas has also been linked to New York’s Joakim Noah and his monstrous deal. The Knicks’ center has roughly three years and $45M left on his contract and New York is on the record as saying they will not attach any first-round picks to his deal in any transaction.
The Mavericks have the specific aim of acquiring first-round picks through this very strategy, so unless New York has a fundamental change of heart in the Noah situation (he’s not with the team at this time), Dallas will likely pass on this deal as well. It’s unclear if New York’s 2018 first round pick (currently No. 12) would be enough for the Mavericks to swallow Noah’s deal even if they included Wes Matthews.
Again, factoring in the cost of trading Matthews for Noah’s contract leaves Dallas on the hook for upwards of $28M in dead money through 2020. Scotto also reported the Mavericks have an interest in Willy Hernangomez. It’s unclear if a package of New York’s 2018 first and the estranged 23-year old rookie would be enough to move the needle for the Mavericks.
With six days to go, we are sure learn more about which direction each NBA team wants to go at the deadline, including the Mavericks. Stay tuned!
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