No Deals for Dallas at the Deadline.
The NBA's trade deadline is officially over. Basketball fans can go ahead and change their twitter settings to turn notifications off for future Woj and Shams tweets. Going forward, it's going to be all quiet on the Western and Eastern conference fronts.
The Dallas Mavericks found themselves relatively quiet this trade season. They made one move, sending Utah's 2020 second-round pick to the Golden State Warriors for center, Willie Cauley-Stein. While many other teams in the league went scrambling, the Mavs stood pat.
Assessing the Current Situation
For Mavericks fans, you probably fall into one of two camps. Camp 1 is full of fans who are content that the team stood pat and did not make any big moves, whether to swing for the fences or out of desperation. Camp 2 is full of fans who are disappointed that the team didn't put their foot on the gas to accelerate the "win-now" philosophy.
The two biggest areas of need for the Mavericks as currently constructed are a defensive-minded wing who can hit the three, and frontcourt depth (whether with a rim-protector, or a rim-runner, or both). If we were to add a third area of need, you could also include a player who can create his own shot, but to simplify things, we'll stay with a 3-and-D wing or an athletic big man.
The trade market saw a few guys who would fit into the above categories that found new homes elsewhere. So the question is, could the Mavericks have been buyers in this market?
Robert Covington. RoCo was one of the most desirable players at the deadline. Unfortunately for Mavericks fans, he went to the divisional-rival, Houston Rockets in a massive four-team, 12-player deal.
What did it cost: The Rockets had to give up one of their core guys in Clint Capela and a first-round pick. This is a price point the Mavericks could not match. They did not have a player of Capela's caliber lying around not being used correctly, so, unfortunately, they couldn't be players here. Ideally, he would have been at the top of the trade target list.
Marcus Morris. After saying over and over that Morris wasn't going to be available, the New York Knicks shipped him out in a three-team deal to the Los Angeles Clippers. His deal is expiring, and by all accounts, he's going to want to be paid handsomely for his impressive season this year.
What did it cost: The Clippers sent out the expiring contract of Moe Harkless, as well as a 2020 first-round pick, and a 2021 second-round pick that belongs to the Detroit Pistons. Maybe Morris would have decided to re-sign in Dallas this offseason, but if he didn't, then the Mavericks would have lost out on a first-round pick (and they already sent out two first-round picks last trade deadline) for just renting him for a few months. It's easy to see why they passed on this idea.
Andre Iguodala. Iggy was finally dealt from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Miami Heat. In the deal, two other wing defenders were also moved: Jae Crowder and Justise Winslow. While Iguodala's name had been attached to the Mavericks, it became clear over the past few weeks that the Mavericks weren't going to make a move for him.
What did it cost: For the Grizzlies, not much at all. They sent out Jae Crowder, while having to take on Dion Waiters and Justise Winslow. Winslow is only 24-years old and is a versatile defender and playmaker battling through injuries. For the Mavericks, they did not have the youth or potential to land Iguodala, or Crowder, or Winslow for that matter too. All three players would have made the Mavericks better, Winslow would have been a dream scenario in my opinion.
Glenn Robinson III. A GR3 to Dallas rumor sprang up out of nowhere and looked to be pretty promising. However, he was shipped to the 76ers with fellow teammate, Alec Burks. I would have been happy with either player, let alone both.
What did it cost: To acquire both players, the 76ers gave up three second-round draft picks (2020 Dallas, 2021 Denver, and 2022 Toronto). This deal is the one the Mavericks could have come closest to landing. The 2020 second-round pick that they own from the Warriors has much more value than any other pick involved. Although GR3 is on an expiring deal, if I thought I could re-sign him to a reasonable deal, I would have pulled the trigger on acquiring him as soon as possible. He's averaging nearly 13 points and five rebounds per game while shooting 40% from three.
Other names: Andrew Wiggins was moved, but for the sake of us all, we don't need to explore that scenario. Malik Beasley would have been nice to get, but he wasn't a realistic trade target for the Mavericks. Shabazz Napier, Keita Bates-Diop, and Jordan McRae would have been interesting options if they could have been had for cheap, but again, the Mavericks weren't ever really in play for these deals.
Then there was also the story that broke that if Marcus Morris was going to become a Laker, then Danny Green would have become a Maverick. This story is essentially the same story that played out during the offseason with Green and the Mavericks already. Green would have been an upgrade, but the Mavericks lost out once again.
Front Court Options
Andre Drummond. This was probably the most surprising trade during the deadline. Not because Drummond was traded, but because of who he was traded too and what he was traded for.
What did it cost: Nothing. Absolutely nothing. The Cleveland Cavs acquired Drummond for two expiring contracts and a second-round pick. It became clear the Pistons wanted to free up money for the offseason, but even still, you figure they could have received a better return. Should the Mavericks have made this move? It depends.
They would have had to get a third team involved because they did not have the expiring salaries to match Drummond. This also means they most likely have to ship out Tim Hardaway Jr., or a large collection of players to make the money work. Drummond also most likely is going to pick up his player option on his contract, costing his next team over $28 million for the last year on his deal.
Drummond is an incredible rebounder with some playmaking abilities and when motivated, a good defender. However, because the cost to acquire him was so low, it became clear that the Mavericks (and the league for that matter), didn't feel like he was worth the money coming his way. It's hard to believe the league is passing by a guy who averages 17 points, 16 rebounds, and nearly three assists, two steals, and two blocks per game. But here we are.
Dewayne Dedmon. Dedmon made a return to a familiar place when he was sent back to the Hawks. He had become disgruntled in Sacramento and the team was looking to move from him and his contract quickly.
What did it cost: For the Hawks, they gave up Alex Len and Jabari Parker. This deal felt more like the Kings wanting to move Dedmon than anything else. The Mavericks were never really in play here, and for good reason. Dedmon is owed $13 million a season in the next few years, which is a lot of money for a guy best suited as a backup center. Although the 2021-2022 season is not guaranteed money.
Clint Capela. While he was one of the bigger names moved, Capela was never really an option for the Mavericks. Sure, the Rockets wanted to trade him, but they would never trade him to the team just a few hours north.
What did it cost: The Hawks gave up surprisingly little to acquire Capela. Evan Turner's expiring contract and a first-round pick that belonged to the Brooklyn Nets. Even still, as I mentioned above, the Rockets would not have traded Capela to a divisional rival.
Other names: There weren't any other bigs available that would have moved the needle much for the Mavericks. They traded for Willie Cauley-Stein, which is probably the best move for them at this point, especially considering the second-round pick they used is projected to be in the 50's.
David Aldridge of The Athletic wrote that the Mavericks inquired about Alex Len. I've seen a few Hawks games this season and let's just say that I'm glad that deal died.
The Bottom Line
This deadline is in stark contrast to the previous deadline, where we saw the Mavericks trade away four starters in an attempt to put together a more cohesive team for the future. The team decided to forgo any big moves to allow the current squad to continue developing chemistry and work with what they've got.
If Courtney Lee does not amount to a productive role player or at least given the minutes to try, then not exploring options with his expiring $12 million contract was a waste. The Mavericks also held onto a trade exception that expired the day after the trade deadline that went unused, which also feels like a waste. The team and fans alike may regret not taking advantage of one or both of these assets.
Currently, the Mavericks are 10 games over .500 and sit at the 7th seed in the Western Conference. They are two games back from leading the division and 7.5 games ahead of falling out of the playoff picture. Over their last 15 games, they have eight wins and seven losses, all while navigating injuries to key players.
After starting the season hot, the team has cooled off over the past few weeks. Should they have made a move? Maybe. Should they panic? Absolutely not. The real question will be how they navigate the remainder of the season, which will answer the question of "if they should have made a trade" more clearly.