• Nikola Cuvalo

Trade Deadline Marathon: Day 13

CHA receives: W. Matthews, Dennis Smith Jr.

DAL receives: J. Lamb, F. Kaminsky, M. Williams, 2019 OKC Second Round Pick (via CHA)

To preface this trade, we must first discuss a player that is not even included in the above festivities, and yet is a primary driver behind this theoretical transaction. The Charlotte Hornets are determined to keep Kemba Walker, per the Athletic’s Shams Charania. However, Walker is an unrestricted free agent this summer, so the decision regarding his future destination is ultimately his to make.

With this trade the Hornets hedge their bets on their star point guard’s future. They pair him with a backcourt running mate in DSJ, who has star-level potential but can also replace Walker in the long-term, should he decide to leave Charlotte. The Hornets also get out from underneath Williams' slightly onerous contract while retaining enough draft capital and young talent to make a subsequent trade geared toward acquiring more immediate star power (someone like Kevin Love comes to mind). The Hornets also pick up an expiring contract in Wesley Matthews, who can still shoot the lights out from deep, and is a valuable piece in their push to make the East playoffs this year.

Dallas gets a pair of sweet-shooting forwards in Kaminsky and Williams to space the floor for resident point forward superstar Luka Doncic, while landing the expiring contract of guard sniper Jeremy Lamb (who replaces the older, departed Matthews). Importantly, Dallas gets a second round pick that they can use to amass more young talent (should they fail to make the playoffs this year), or package with current roster members to make more trades in the future, in the interest of pairing the sensational Doncic with star-level help during forthcoming playoff runs.

Speaking of star-level help, the Mavs also keep their books relatively free (Williams is the player they receive who is under contract next year) in a summer where they will have a max-salary slot with which they can pursue a bona fide star.

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