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Implications for Mavericks, Western Conference After Trade Deadline

Yep. Still here.
Yep. Still here.

The trade deadline passed without a deal for the Dallas Mavericks, but that was to be expected. The management was very quiet all the way and without a lot of assets, the Mavs weren't supposed to be big players this year. This is what Donnie Nelson had to say a few minutes ago (via @BallinWithBryan):

We feel like we’re in a good position come this summer, hence the non-movement on the Maverick front.

For you to make a change, it’s got to be a significant change…We feel like we’ve got depth at every position.

We’re in a good position. We’ve just got to start hitting on all cylinders.

But others dealt. A list of trades impacting the Mavericks (or the Western Conference), can be found here.

Two teams intentionally got a lot worse, effectively tanking and rebuilding. The Trail Blazers, who also fired coach Nate McMillan, added cap-space and can now be considered a legitimate suitor for Deron Williams in the summer, but after a free fall in recent weeks, they're out of the playoff race this season. Same goes for the Warriors, who own good players in Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut, but both are injured and there are no signs that the franchise will rush them back to make the playoffs.

In a very surprising turn of events, the Nuggets dealt away Nene Hilario, who signed a big contract just before the season and got back JaVale McGee. Reportedly the Nuggets had concerns regarding the health of the center. It's hard to foresee how McGee will fit into the team and although Nene has not been playing too well, Denver likely takes a hit as well. They currently rank 6th in the Conference, but could easily slip out of the playoff picture in a matter of days.

Then there are the teams that were seeking, and finding, upgrades. The Lakers got Ramon Sessions from the Cavaliers and Jordan Hill from the Rockets and got rid of the corpses of Luke Walton and Derek Fisher. Any upgrade at the point would have been nice for them, but Sessions indeed is a decent one. Although he has been an inefficient shooter this season, he ranks 2nd in free throws per field goal attempt, 5th in rebounding percentage and 4th in assist rate among all point guards with at least 700 minutes played this season. And he's playing with multiple All-Stars now, which should help his value as well. L.A. definitely got better.

In the Southwest Division, the Rockets needed help at center and the point, acquired the league-leading rebounder Marcus Camby and, well, Derek Fisher. The San Antonio Spurs swapped Richard Jefferson and Stephen Jackson, while the Clippers acquired a decent replacement for injured Chauncey Billups: wing-scorer Nick Young. All three trades are not spectacular, but do fill voids for the respective teams. Jackson has a history in San Antonio and coach Gregg Popovich likes him quite a lot, so that's your upgrade in this case.

The other teams stood pat. Overall the chances for the Mavericks to make the playoffs (and a higher seeding) got better, because those teams which were upgrading, were already a lock for the playoffs. Teams like the Timberwolves or Suns, which could have used help at the deadline, probably won't present a real threat and Denver sans Nene has to prove itself as well.

And then there are the deals that weren't made: Dwight Howard stayed with the Magic, which ups the chances for the Mavs to land Deron Williams in the summer. The Nets tried to please Williams with Gerald Wallace and we'll see how that works out. Right now they are 4.5 games behind a playoff berth and they will most likely fight with the Bucks and Knicks for the eighth seed. The projected starting lineup next season for the Nets is now Deron Williams, MarShon Brooks, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez, not bad to be honest.

Last but not least a short notice on Chris Kaman, who survived the deadline and stays with the Hornets for now. It's all but cemented that New Orleans will buy out his contract, but if, the Mavericks will presumably top the list of suitors. Others: Celtics, Heat and Spurs.