The Dallas Mavericks have been among the most active teams in terms of trades over the last five years. This shouldn’t be surprising as the Mavericks’ basketball department was run by Donnie Nelson Jr., and Rico Harrison is currently heads of the operation. Nelson’s dad, Don Nelson Sr., was known as “trader Don” when he was an NBA executive.
Since the start of the 2019-20 season, Dallas has been involved in 11 trades. The Mavericks have made two big deals at the trade deadline in the past two years. The Mavs sent Kristaps Porzingis to the Washington Wizards at the deadline in 2022 and traded for Kyrie Irving last February.
Dallas has already made three deals since the start of the 2023-24 campaign, The Mavericks received Richaun Holmes, Olivier Maxence-Prosper and Dereck Lively II in the early part of July. The Mavs then nabbed Grant Williams in a three-way trade.
It sounds like the Mavericks aren’t done wheeling and dealing this year.
NBA Trade Rumors: Dallas Mavericks Seek Another Forward Ahead Of Deadline
According to HoopsHype, Michael Scotto, on his latest HoopsHype podcast with ESPN’s Bobby Marks, he has heard that the Mavericks want to upgrade their roster.
“Certainly, Dallas wants an upgrade at the four slash three, I’ve heard.”
Dallas Gets Off To A Hot Start
Dallas entered the 2023-24 with lots of questions. Was the Irving-Luka Doncic pairing going to work? Did they do enough to improve their frontcourt and defense on the wing? What about at center?
The Mavericks got off to a fantastic start, winning their first four games and eight of 10 as Doncic played out of his mind. Doncic scored 20 or more points in the first 10 games, topping the 30-point mark seven times. He produced two triple-doubles and four double-doubles.
Dallas held the eighth-best record in the league at 11-6 through the first month and a half. The Mavericks have basically kept that same pace since that time. The Mavs sit seventh in the Western Conference at 23-16, as they have won four of their first six games since the New Year and five of seven overall.
While the Mavericks have dealt with injuries, with Irving missing 16 games, they have handled those well. The Mavs have a 9-7 record without Irving and are 2-3 in the contests Doncic has sat out. However, Doncic will miss his second straight game with an ankle injury tonight against New Orleans.
Are the Mavericks Contenders Out West?
Despite sitting in seventh place in the Western Conference, Dallas is in a good position. The Mavericks are a half-game behind the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans for the fourth spot and four and a half behind conference-leading Minnesota. The Mavs are four games clear of the 11th-placeLos Angeles Lakers.
Dallas does have issues, particularly on the defensive end, which is why the Mavericks are believed to be looking to upgrade their roster.
When Irving and Doncic are playing, the Mavericks have one of the most dynamic offensives in the league. Doncic and Irving are the second-highest-scoring duo in the league, behind Joel Embiid–Tyrese Maxey.
The Mavs are seventh in scoring at 118.7 and 10th in offensive efficiency. But they sometimes get stagnant offensively, waiting for either Doncic or Irving to do their thing with the basketball. The Mavs are 23rd in the league in assists. Tim Hardaway Jr. is the only player on the roster who can score consistently.
Derrick Jones Jr., Dante Exum, Lively, Seth Curry, and A.J. Lawson have played well for Dallas. But Jaden Hardy and Josh Green have not developed as the Mavericks had hoped. Williams has been a disaster on both ends of the floor. Granted, Maxi Kleber’s absence hurts. Kleber has been out since Nov. 8, but he should return soon.
The Mavs also struggle at the foul line and are not a good offensive-rebounding squad.
Speaking of the other end, Dallas is 20th in scoring defense (117.1) and 18th in defensive rating. The Mavs don’t have a rim protector other than Lively; they are not a good defensive rebounding team and struggle in defensive transition. The Mavericks have lost 11 games by 10 or more points, tied for the second most among teams in the top 10 in each conference.
Also, a very concerning trend is that Dallas is 7-12 against teams with a winning record, with a minus-5.0 scoring margin in those contests.
So, the answer to whether Dallas is a contender out west is no as of right now. If the Mavericks, can swing a deal for a scoring combo forward and a backup center at the trade deadline, that may change things a little bit, But the Mavs likely have too many deficiencies.