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Joakim Noah would be a good fit in Dallas, but only at a low cost

Should the Mavericks consider trading for Noah? Not if it means giving up anything significant.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks are off to a surprising 8-4 start this season, but not everyone has bought into the team's playoff prospects. Count ESPN's David Thorpe among that group.

On Zach Lowe's podcast this week, Thorpe questioned whether the Mavs had enough interior defense behind an aging Dirk Nowitzki to keep up that pace for 82 games.

He floated an interesting idea for Dallas to add help in the middle -- a trade for the BullsJoakim Noah. A deal could make sense for both parties. Noah's days in Chicago might be numbered because of injuries, turnover in personnel and his impending free agency. And Mark Cuban has a history of taking chances on veteran stars past their prime.

But it's hard to see a trade developing because of what it would take to get Noah to Dallas.

Noah would be a solid addition as a complementary piece for a veteran team. As recently as two seasons ago, he was a legitimate MVP candidate in the absence of Derrick Rose. He posted a career-best defensive rating (96) while initiating Chicago's offense and rebounding at an elite level.

Those skills remain impressive. And there's something to be said for adding a guy with his intensity to a playoff hopeful squad. This is probably one of the most laid back group of personalities in Dallas in years.

But Noah experienced a big dropoff in abilities beginning last season that appears to have continued through the first 10 games of this season. That's evident in both the advanced stats (he actually has a negative net rating this season offensive rating of 89) and in the game film, where it appears he's just moving around more slowly.The longtime Bulls center also missed 15 games last season. At age 30 with a significant injury history, he's likely to miss his fair share of this season too.

The most alarming number for Noah is his 34 percent field goal percentage this season -- that's especially bad for a guy who takes 60 percent of his shots within three feet of the basket. And his shooting numbers have been trending down for several years.

In his interview with Thorpe, Lowe mentioned the possibility of Dallas conveying a first round pick two years after the one they still owe to Boston. But considering Noah's recent history and the Mavericks' experience with Rajon Rondo, that kind of move would call into question the sanity of Cuban and the Dallas front office.

True, it's a lot easier for a team to get by with a lack of shooting from the center position than the point guard position. But Noah remains extremely limited player on the offensive end. Zaza Pachulia, the stopgap center who Dallas got for a song this summer, has been better or about even with Noah this season at everything but passing and defense, and is a great fit with the team, as Jamie Plunkett detailed here. And Rondo made clear that even great defense doesn't make up for putrid offense.

At this point, Noah is basically a good backup center. He would fit a need for the Mavs but isn't worth more than the second round pick it took to acquire Pachulia at this point. And it's hard to imagine Chicago parting ways with a guy who has been a face of the franchise for nearly a decade for so little. If fan perception means anything to that organization, it would make more sense to let him leave in free agency.

It would be better for Dallas to see what they have in JaVale McGee than offer serious value for another aging veteran. The current incarnation of the Mavericks roster has its flaws but the last thing it needs to do is give up young assets or picks for players already past their prime.