Mavs Expected to Make Move at Trade Deadline


Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic | Image by Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

The NBA trade deadline is fast approaching (February 9, 2:00 p.m. CT), and there is a growing sentiment around the league that the Dallas Mavericks will make a move.

The Mavericks (25-24) sit as the No.6 seed in the Western Conference and have lost seven of their last nine games.

A needle-moving trade could put the Mavericks back in contention in a highly competitive West, with Dallas just two games ahead of 13th place but only three games behind third place.

There is reported restlessness within the organization to make a move.

ESPN reported last week that Luka Doncic “has strongly indicated” his desire for roster improvement. Later that evening, the Mavericks gave up 130 points in a loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Doncic denied the ESPN report after the game: “Obviously, people who are next to me – who I talk to – they know that [report] is not true. I didn’t say anything about that.”

But coach Jason Kidd gave a harsh assessment of the team in the aftermath of the loss to the Hawks while hinting at his unhappiness with the team’s construction.

“If it’s with this personnel, then you’ve got to keep asking or demanding for those guys to play defense,” Kidd said. “It’s not just the offensive end.”

Kidd’s first few words — “if it’s with this personnel” — suggest that even he understands the Mavericks may not have the right pieces on the team to be genuine contenders.

What do the Mavericks have to offer other teams?

Very little. The next first-round pick Dallas can trade is for the 2025 season.

Tim Hardaway Jr. has been linked in trades away from Dallas for some time, and his inconsistency has been frustrating this season. But his contract may make him unappealing to other teams, as he still has two seasons left after this year on a four-year $75 million contract he signed during the 2021 offseason.

Reggie Bullock is another player similar to Hardaway, who has been inconsistent. However, his contract is easier to move, with just one more season after this year that will pay him $5.4 million guaranteed.

Dallas also has to answer what to do regarding Christian Wood, who becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, barring an in-season extension.

If Dallas is not committed to re-signing him before he hits the open market this summer, one could argue that he should be traded before he could potentially sign with another team with nothing in return for the Mavericks.

But Wood, who is currently out with a fractured thumb, has excelled as a tandem with Doncic, being second in the team in scoring and rebounding.

What players could the Mavericks trade for?

There are multiple rumored options, with the team having a clear need for upgrades in all aspects of defense, another ball handler, and more consistent three-point shooting.

Detroit’s Bojan Bogdanović is one player who has been linked as a potential target of the Mavericks for some time. But he has also been linked as a target for many other teams, potentially driving up his price.

The 33-year-old forward is averaging a career-high in scoring and close to a career-high shooting percentage. Bogdanović is known as a reliable defender and three-point shooter, which Dallas desperately needs.

The Pistons are reportedly asking for a first-round pick plus another player in exchange for Bogdanović. It is unlikely the Mavericks will part with a first-round pick for Bogdanović, according to reports, so Detroit will likely have to lower its asking price for the forward to end up as a Maverick.

Cleveland guard Caris LeVert is another player linked to Dallas, with the Cavaliers reportedly having an interest in Hardaway from the Mavericks.

However, LeVert is not considered a clear upgrade over Hardaway as he also is inconsistent at making shots. The 28-year-old guard is more consistent at making two-pointers than the 30-year-old Hardaway, but he is less of a threat from three-point range.

LeVert will also be an unrestricted free agent this summer, meaning Dallas would likely just be acquiring him as a short-term rental.

The Toronto Raptors will reportedly be sellers at the deadline, and they have several players that would be intriguing on the Mavericks, but they may all be too costly for the team.

Dallas has reportedly shown interest in point guard Fred VanVleet, who would more than fill the team’s need for another ball handler alongside Doncic. The 28-year-old is averaging 19.1 points and 6.3 assists per game on 38.9% shooting, including 34.1% from three.

Forward OG Anunoby would fill two of the Mavericks’ needs, as he is considered one of the league’s top perimeter defenders and is a reliable three-point shooter. The 25-year-old is averaging a career-best in points per game (17.1) and is leading the league in steals.

However, a report emerged this week that a team has offered the Raptors three first-round picks in exchange for Anunoby. If true, his price tag may be too high for Dallas.

The Raptors are looking to clear salary cap space and acquire young players and draft picks in any trades. That means they will likely not accept taking on Hardaway’s contract, and Dallas will have to part ways with one or both of its young promising players, Josh Green or Jaden Hardy, and multiple first-round picks to deal with Toronto.

All Mavericks fans can do is wait and watch as rumors will only intensify as the trade deadline nears. But it is apparent that the team does not want to stand pat.

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