Care for a trip down memory lane?
The Dallas Mavericks do not have what many would call a "storied history"; having joined the NBA in 1980 they remain one of the younger franchises in professional basketball, and so a list such as this may not require going too far in the Wayback machine. However, through the years the Mavericks have been one of the league's most active teams on the trade market, a tradition Mark Cuban has proudly continued, if not brought to crescendo. Some trades have been dubious, others hilarious, but these are the five we are calling "the best", under whatever arbitrary criteria so followed.
Find what checks in at #5 after The Jump:
October 30th, 1980: Dallas Mavericks send Richard Washington and Jerome Whitehead to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Bill Robinzine, a 1983 1st round pick(via Atlanta) and a 1986 1st round pick.
This is a great trade to start with because it's also one of the first trades in franchise history, and provides the perfect excuse to give a little history lesson on the humble beginnings of the franchise itself.
In 1979, Don Carter and Norm Sonju brought the Dallas Mavericks into existence, posting the $12 million expansion entry fee(worth approximately $33 million today). Previously, the Dallas Chaparrals had been a part of the ABA from 1968 until 1973 when they were moved a few hundred miles southwest to become, gasp, the San Antonio Spurs. The Mavericks represented the NBA's first team in Dallas, a town dominated by football and the towering legacies of figures like Tom Landry and Roger Staubach. It would be three years before the franchise's first playoff appearance, and six years before their first 50-win season(something the team did just twice in 20 years, prior to doing it 11 times in a row). The trade above would be a big reason why.
In 1980, an expansion draft was held for Dallas. Each of the NBA's other 22 teams could protect eight players, leaving the rest available for selection by Dallas. The picks were not filled with many star-quality names, but included former Notre Dame standout and first overall pick Austin Carr, as well as veteran and future Dallas Mavericks head coach Jim Cleamons.
Most of the picks did not play long for Dallas(only two played more than a season, Tom LaGarde and Jim Spanarkel, and many didn't play at all) in what was its chaotic infancy. Dallas completed more than a dozen trades that year, three to Cleveland alone, as they tried to build a pipeline of young talent by stockpiling draft picks. Two of Dallas' other trades with Cleveland brought back future picks that would become Detlef Schrempf and Sam Perkins.
The third trade centered around Richard Washington, a UCLA standout who was named NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player in leading the Bruins to a national championship in what was coach John Wooden's final game. Washington was the third overall pick in 1976 by the Kansas City Kings, and was traded a few years later to the Milwaukee Bucks for Ernie Grunfeld. Unprotected by Milwaukee, Washington was selected by Dallas in the expansion draft, but played just 11 games in their inaugural season, before being traded, along with Jerome Whitehead, for Bill Robinzine and two picks.
Bill Robinzine was a solid player who ended up being the third leading scorer for the Mavericks that season, his only in Dallas. As you might imagine, what made this trade successful was not his modest contributions, but those of the players whom Dallas used their first round draft picks on, though it took more than half a decade for the trade bounty to be fully realized. In 1983 Dallas used Cleveland's pick to select Derek Harper, and in 1986 Roy Tarpley, two key pieces of Dallas' late-80's brief run of excellence that brought them to a game away from their first NBA finals. Harper would play over a decade with Dallas, in two separate stops, scoring over 12,000 points, while the talented but troubled Roy Tarpley would tantalize with his athletic ability and rebounding skill, hinting at what might be, before finally succumbing to drug addiction and various injuries.
All in all, not a bad haul for two expansion picks that combined to play in just 18 games with Dallas.