Trade Season: A Tricky Situation


“Around Christmas time, after Christmas is really when we’re going to take off.”

At the time of Kristaps Porzingis’s postgame comments on December 4th, there was little optimism surrounding the Dallas Mavericks. They were sitting at 11-11 and yielded one of the worst defenses in the NBA, especially with their best player on the floor. In the next 10 games until Christmas, the Mavericks proceeded to go 4-6, losing games in frustrating fashion (the Pacers and Lakers losses come to mind).

Since Christmas? The Mavericks are 13-4, including 11-3 since Luka Dončić returned to the lineup.

Since Christmas? The Mavericks have one of the best defensive rating in the NBA at 103.6, climbing all the way up from 19th since KP’s comments.

Maybe Porzingis knows something we don’t?

The Mavericks clearly have bought in to Jason Kidd’s defensive scheme, as evidenced by their climb in the defensive standings and outstanding play over the last month or so. The question remains, however, is what the ceiling for this team is. The Mavs have been involved in numerous trade rumors already, from Ben Simmons to Jerami Grant to John Collins. They have been heavily linked to Pacers center and Dallas native Myles Turner. Rumors initially pegged Dwight Powell and one of Jalen Brunson or Dorian Finney-Smith as a package for Turner, with room for mixing and matching other players. However, many outlets reported on Tuesday, January 18th that Turner suffered a stress reaction in his left foot which will sideline him past the February 10th trade deadline. In all likelihood, Turner looks to be untradeable for a significant package, and it would be a shock to see the Mavericks trade one of their best players for a center with foot problems.

The issue that plagues the Mavericks is a familiar one: is this roster good enough to win a title? Can new GM Nico Harrison make a splash in the trade market in his first deadline rodeo? Many Mavericks fans are clamoring for a trade, but realistically the Mavericks would be looking at moving off of Brunson and/or Finney-Smith for a trade to materialize. Would the Mavericks be able to stomach losing two of their most important players, both of whom have been key pieces in the team’s turnaround that seems to be legitimate? Or would the front office be more comfortable seeing how this “finally whole” team gels, as Harrison said?

With roughly three weeks to go until the trade deadline, front offices surely are discussing various moves that likely won’t come to fruition until a few days before February 10th. The Mavericks, arguable the hottest team in the league, are at the forefront of those discussions, with two players in high demand that fit nearly every scheme in the NBA but both of whom will be unrestricted free agents going into the off-season. It’s up to the front office to determine whether this team has another peak in its sights or if a shakeup is needed.

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