After an up-and-down season from Zaza Pachulia, the Dallas Mavericks (and fans) had high expectations for Andrew Bogut. And while he has been a great defensive anchor and rebounder, his injuries and offensive woes have made it clear that his fit with the Mavs isn’t what we expected.
But thanks to his defensive and rebounding capabilities and an expiring deal, the Mavs may be able to pull off a trade for the Australian big man.
Below are some trade options. They range from plausible scenarios that could obviously benefit both teams to wild pipe dreams.
Note that all draft picks mentioned could come with protections. It's hard to predict exactly what those would be, but you could assume they would be flexible if the Mavericks are dealing Bogut.
Focusing on the future
The Celtics make the most sense as a Bogut landing spot. Boston has struggled to defend and rebound consistently, which makes Bogut a good option. He would not need to start, but he could allow Al Horford to play some power forward if the team elects to go big.
There’s no way the Mavs will get that Brooklyn pick from the Celtics, so the most Dallas could hope for is either Boston’s own first-round selection, which will most likely be in the 20s, or Minnesota’s unprotected second-round selection. (For a more detailed explanation of Boston’s picks, see this Celtics Blog post.)
If Boston is reluctant to move any of their first-round selections, it would also make sense for Dallas to take one of their youngish bigs. Tyler Zeller is 27 years old and having a down season, but we’ve seen Rick Carlisle turn struggling bigs into useful players: Brandan Wright, Brandon Bass, Kris Humphries, and Al-Farouq Aminu, for example.
This trade wouldn’t move the needle much for the Mavs in the short term, but it would add a useful piece for next season, and who knows who could be available late in the draft?
The Blazers have some of the same concerns as the Celtics, but unlike the Celtics, they haven’t been winning games. The Blazers could offer either their own or the Cleveland Cavaliers’ unprotected first-round selection to nab Bogut. They could also offer Noah Vonleh, who has struggled to find his niche during his third season in the league but is still just 21 years old.
Playing for this season
Whether the Mavs are shooting for the playoffs or not, the smart move is still to move Bogut. And if making the playoffs is the goal, then why not bring back the team’s best center during the Dirk-era for a THIRD time?
Tyson Chandler has been declining but is still a serviceable center who is useful in the pick and roll. Also, with a weak center market this offseason, it won’t hurt to have Chandler to add some stability to that position for another season.
For the Suns, this just allows them to get out of Chandler’s deal so they can try to add other pieces in the offseason to build around their young core.
While there’s some concern around Hassan Whiteside’s work ethic and dedication, he’s still averaging 17 points, 14 rebounds, and two blocks per game after spurning the Mavs for the Heat this offseason. Miami is unlikely to let him go.
But if the Heat truly are in rebuild mode and decide to move Whiteside, the Mavericks can offer some cap relief and even dangle their own draft pick if they believe Whiteside is vital to retooling post-Dirk.
Let’s get a little crazy with this one. We all know Tom Thibodeau isn’t the most patient coach in the league. Dallas can offer him some veteran pieces to help the Wolves make a push for the West’s last seed, while also adding the cap flexibility needed to make a run on free agents. The Mavs would most likely have to include their draft selection in such a deal.
The Mavs would give up Wesley Matthews, Deron Williams, and Justin Anderson and at least one draft pick with Bogut, but they would add a 26-year-old point guard in Ricky Rubio and a dynamic 21-year-old guard in Zach LaVine, not to mention two centers.
The Mavs could have a starting trio of Rubio, LaVine, and Harrison Barnes to anchor their rebuild.
The Orlando Magic have a logjam in the frontcourt after acquiring both Bismack Biyombo and Serge Ibaka this past summer. The Mavs could offer cap flexibility, swapping Bogut’s expiring contract for Nikola Vucevic’s longer deal.
Without speculating too much about the details, most scenarios involving the Magic would probably require the Mavs sending a draft pick.
If the Jazz want to go all in this season, then adding stability behind George Hill will be important. Deron Williams would provide that. Bogut would give the team another rim protector behind Rudy Gobert.
The longer the Mavs hold onto Bogut, the less likely it seems they’ll get much for him. The team needs to get him healthy and move him when possible. If they wait, they’ll get absolutely nothing for him when the two sides part ways this offseason.