As of Sunday the 15th, players who signed contracts this offseason have become eligible to be traded. The trade deadline occurs on February 20th. In other words, trade season is upon us these next two months, and it's bound to bring craziness.
Despite a 14-10 record, the Mavericks are in the weird position of barely clinging on to the eighth playoff spot in a loaded Western Conference. Not quite good enough to be a contender, it seems, but not bad enough to blow it all up (which they would never do with Dirk around, anyway).
Is your team a buyer or seller?
There's fans out there who may disagree here and say the Mavericks should be sellers. But there's no doubt that Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson are looking to add to this team.
If buyer, what position are you looking to improve?
Center. Samuel Dalembert hasn't earned Carlisle's favor, be it poor play or lack of opportunity. DeJuan Blair and the recently-returned Brandan Wright have each shown great things from the position, but they also share a common weakness -- they're average defenders and rebounders, flaws that get exposed against skilled centers with elite size. The Mavericks are able to skate by because there's a limited number of such players around the league -- but if they expect to advance in the playoffs, they would just have to cross their fingers and hope they don't run into the Rockets, the Clippers or someone similar.
The other area the Mavericks could improve in is playmaking off the bench. Although Devin Harris might be the solution, looking for another deal in the mean time is being proactive.
...what specific players should your team target?
Omer Asik has been talked about since the summer, but without a first round pick to try to sweeten any deal, I can't imagine Daryl Morey lets Dallas talk for more than a sentence before saying no and hanging up the phone. But there's other defensive centers out there to look into. With Memphis struggling out of the gates, one name I would look into is Kosta Koufos. The Grizzlies need a small forward and perhaps the Mavericks could interest them with Marion or Carter (pending he has a good stretch of play).
What are your specific trade ideas?
Arron Afflalo is an interesting name that is being shopped by Orlando. Here's a trade proposal from Orlando Pinstriped Post, our SB Nation Magic friends, that has him and E'Twuan Moore for Marion, Larkin and Ledo (they also suggest a first round pick, which I don't think is possible because the Mavericks owe Oklahoma City the one. But I'm not a cap expert, and perhaps they can still work something out?).
What do you think? What moves should the Mavericks look at? Here's the ESPN trade machine to help you out.
Ranking the tradeability:
And, in order:
1) Brandan Wright: Even after one game, we've seen his fantastic skill set at full display. Also, just 26.
2) Shawn Marion: An expiring contract who could help out a team looking for a defender wing player
3) Shane Larkin: Just a rookie who has shown some potential
4) Devin Harris: If he can come back from that injury, he's on a vet's minimum deal and is a talented player.
5) Vince Carter: Very valuable last year. In the final year of his contract, he could have lots of interest if he can put together a good December.
6) Samuel Dalembert: You can always argue he's just not being used right by the Mavericks. Would probably be much better in a smaller, more defined role.
7) Ricky Ledo: Don't underestimate his value. People like him around the league, but he's totally unproven and hasn't exactly shined in the D-League so far. He's a good chip to push a "not quite enough" to a "yes, we'll trade."
DeJuan Blair and Wayne Ellington are both tradeable, but I'm not sure they have too much value. Monta and Dirk aren't going anywhere, so don't bother. Jose Calderon probably isn't moving anywhere with his contract, although I'm sure Dallas wouldn't immediately hang up if someone was interested.
Do you see the Mavericks making any moves in the coming months prior to the trade deadline? If so, a major move or just a player swap with another team?