The Dallas Mavericks sit at 19-17, good for eighth in the Western Conference with two weeks remaining before the 2021 trade deadline on March 25th.
With five rotation pieces missing for a solid stretch of the season due to health and safety protocols and then shaking off the rust, the full roster of pieces is just beginning to find its identity.
Following a six-game losing streak, the Mavs rattled off 11 wins out of the last 15 games played with the starting lineup and rotations becoming consistent while the team slowly digs its way out of the statistical dumps.
While Dallas has been able to slightly remedy its shooting woes behind the three-point line, elevating to ninth in attempts per game (37.4) and 12th in the league in attempts made per game (13.1), they rank 25th in long range shooting percentage (35%) and could use a true sniper to keep defenses honest.
Dallas does a fairly good job defending opponents’ three-point attempts (14th in the league at 36.8%), and sit at sixth in points given up in the paint (44.8), but often struggle to end possessions with a 48.1% total rebounding rate, 26th in the league.
Based on the eye test and numbers to back, the Mavs do a good job defending the paint and work hard outside on the perimeter, but the need for a defensive stopper and a big-body rebounder is clear, as there are too many times when an iso bucket or a putback off of it will bail out the opponent’s stalled possession.
With those points in mind, here is a list of tiered trade targets the Dallas Mavericks could consider come the trade deadline:
Doable, but at what cost:
Victor Oladipo, SG, Houston Rockets for James Johnson, Boban Marjanovic and two second round picks.
With the rumors of another impending trade swirling around Oladipo the moment he arrived in Houston, the Dallas Mavericks were almost instantly linked to the defensive-minded wing with a scoring penchant of a #2 option on a playoff team.
Unfortunately injuries have derailed his ascension towards the All-Star ranks and has been inconsistent shooting this season, only connecting on 38.7% of his field goals and 31.3% on three-point attempts.
While Dallas won’t be giving up much when it comes to rotation players, is it worth giving up available draft capital in two second rounders when they don’t have a tradeable first round pick until 2025?
Kevin Love, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers for Maxi Kleber, James Johnson, Josh Green and a second round pick.
Reports have come out that the Mavs could be viewing Kevin Love as a potential answer in the frontcourt.
While his rebounding and shooting touch would be welcomed, he is essentially an older Porzingis with less rim-protecting skills and more mileage.
Cap relief from Johnson’s expiring contract and a young prospect in Green is tempting for Cleveland, but it will be tough to pry the 2025 first round pick from the Mavs, so it may require an impact player such Maxi Kleber to grease the wheels.
Kleber is arguably the Mavs most versatile defender and most accurate three-point shooter on a very team-friendly deal wich they would sorely miss while adding an albatross of a contract in Love’s.
Likely low-ball attempts:
JJ Reddick, SG, and Nicolo Melli, SF, New Orleans Pelicans for James Johnson, Josh Green and a second round pick.
JJ Reddick will be in demand no matter what team he is on or the situation presented before him because pure flamethrowers from distance are rare.
The Mavs can offer salary relief in the form of Johnson’s expiring contract to balance Reddick’s ending pact and throw in an exciting prospect in Green with a second round flier to aid in their youth movement while sending out two shooters the Mavs sorely need.
The only question is, will Reddick command more than a second rounder and a prospect on the market come trade time?
Taurean Prince, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers for Jalen Brunson and Dwight Powell.
This one hurts to see Brunson leave, but it’s hard to imagine Cleveland sending away one of its most consistent wings without receiving a player it views in an equal light.
Collin Sexton and Darius Garland are growing as backcourt mates, but the need for steady bench creation will always be in demand and the Cavaliers currently sit in dead last in points per game at 104.6.
On the other side, the Mavs will receive a battle-tested wing who has the chops to at least impede the Lebron/Giannis/Kawhi’s of the league while still contributing on the offensive end, canning 40.6% of his threes this season.
Thaddeus Young, PF, and Daniel Gafford, C, Chicago Bulls for James Johnson and a second round pick.
Thaddeus Young will never stand out on the stat sheet, owning career averages of 13.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game on 50% shooting from the floor, his presence is always felt by the opposing side.
Luka Doncic doesn’t need world-beaters surrounding him, just guys who play hard and have a knack for being in the right place at the right time, which Young has been doing for 14 seasons now.
Young would be a welcomed addition to the front line who would be able to fit in next to Porzingis in the frontcourt with his offensive versatility while also being able to challenge bigger wings on the defensive end.
While Gafford is just a throw in to make the money work, Johnson’s expiring contract will grant the Bulls even more spending power this offseason with All-Star Zach Lavine’s upcoming extension talks figuring to be quite pricey
Add in a second round pick and Chicago’s front office should be thinking long and hard.
Nikola Vucecvic, C, Orlando Magic for Maxi Kleber, Josh Green, James Johnson and the 2025 first round pick.
Nikola Vucevic has been on a tear this season, averaging career highs in points per game (24.6), three-point percentage (41.2) and free throw percentage (85.1).
Unfortunately the Magic sit at 13-23 and are unlikely to make any noise this season with injuries and unfortunate circumstances piling up.
Dallas may be able to pounce while Orlando sits in limbo, but it’s unlikely a first rounder that will convey when Luka is entering his prime plus a collection of above average but not All-Star level talent will get the job done to pry away the big man to complete the Euro Trio so many fans want to see.
Zach Lavine, SG, Chicago Bulls for Tim Hardaway Jr., Jalen Brunson, 2025 first round pick and a second round pick.
With Zach Lavine earning his first All-Star nod this season, his stock is at an all time high and is no longer looked at as a shoot-first, think-later athlete with highlight reel dunks.
The Mavs will have to give up essentially all of its conceivable assets to come even close to sniffing distance, which likely won’t compete with other offers.
Dallas’ bench unit will be hurt, and rotations will need to be reworked, but adding talent is always worth it.
THJ’s will give Chicago a scorer in a similar mold to Lavine plus his expiring contract gives them financial flexibility to seek out any option on the market while receiving a rising professional scorer in the league in Brunson along with draft capital to fuel its rebuild.
Bargain bin buys:
Wayne Ellington, SG, Detroit Pistons for Tyrell Terry and a second round pick.
The Detroit Pistons are going no where quick, owning the league’s worst record at 10-26 and have already traded Derrick Rose and bought out Blake Griffin.
With Wayne Ellington in his 12th season, toiling in mediocrity is probably not his ideal situation.
Currently hitting 43.3% on over six attempts per game, Ellington would provide spacing no other Mav currently commands while roaming the arc.
Tyrell Terry would be another interesting prospect to look at while trying to figure out its future at the point guard position as well as adding a second rounder to its draft stash.
Danuel House Jr., SF, Houston Rockets for Tyrell Terry, Wes Iwundu and a second round pick.
With reports coming out of a possible fire-sale in Houston, the chance to snag a fairly priced wing with two-way potential could be very enticing.
The Mavs would only have to give marginal draft capital and players who don’t crack the rotation very often and in turn would receive an albeit slumping, but semi consistent shooter, with a strong frame to guard ball-dominant wings.
The Rockets would receive young pieces to evaluate as well as an easily waivable contract in Iwundu should they choose to do so.
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