The Dallas Mavericks have done a wonderful job of injecting youth and potential into its roster in a year’s time. Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson and the rest of the front office completely flipped the script on what we’d grown accustomed to post-2011, which was signing older veterans to short deals and not really valuing the NBA Draft the way they should’ve been.
That being said, it’s been quiet — much too quiet.
Some fans enjoy that. They are fine with the idea of a slow rebuild, and they have the patience of a saint. Others are just waiting for the Mavs to make a big splash of any kind, even if it means giving up future 1st round picks. Maybe Cuban and the rest of the gang truly have changed their ways. Maybe they will hold on to all of their newfound youth. Maybe they will stash away and actually use those future first rounders in the near future. Or maybe, just maybe, they just haven’t found the right trade opportunity yet.
Before we go any further, let me refer you back to the title of this piece. These are “pipe-dream” trade scenarios that I could see the Mavs taking advantage of under a perfect storm of circumstances this upcoming season. All of these came out of my own head, and they all would work out financially, at least. There aren’t any rumors of these specific trades happening. Ok, everybody good? Good, let’s get to dreaming then.
Yep, we’re going there. Before we get into the actual money problems the Golden State Warriors could run into in the next few years, just ask yourself this question; out of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, who is the most expendable? If you watched the NBA Finals this year, it would seem Thompson is the answer.
Durant can take all the so-called pay cuts he wants, but the fact remains that the Warriors are currently $34.8 million over the cap, and that’s with Green and Thompson on fairly reasonable deals, at $16.4 million per year and $17.8 million per year, respectively. Steph just signed a massive 5-year, $201 million deal. Durant signed a 2-year, $51 million deal. Andre Iguodala, at the age of 33 years old, signed a 3-year, $48 million deal to stay with the Warriors.
The point is, something’s got to give, because Thompson is the next in line to receive a big pay increase (he’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2019), followed by Green shortly after that (2020). Now you’re probably saying, “What’s the rush?” And you’re right, there isn’t one — yet. However, if for some reason the Warriors aren’t playing up to their standards next season, or Klay is underperforming, I could see the Warriors’ front office starting to think about cutting costs. This particular trade would hinge on sending Golden State a spread of expiring contracts, but also uniting Steph with his little brother, Seth Curry.
Mavs receive: Klay Thompson ($17m/yr, 2 years), Damian Jones ($1.3m/yr, 3 years)
Warriors receive: Seth Curry ($3m/yr, 1 year), Devin Harris ($4.4m/yr, 1 year), Salah Mejri ($1.4m/yr, 1 year), Josh McRoberts ($6m/yr, 1 year), Trade Exeption, conditional future 1st round pick.
It’s definitely no secret at this point that Irving is on the market, and as much as we’d hate to see Dennis Smith Jr. go so soon, the addition of Irving would give the Mavs an immediate fighting chance in an already stacked Western Conference. That being said, I’m not so sure I want to give up on a guy that is 6 years younger than Irving and doing stuff like this before he’s even played a game in the NBA.
So yeah, it’s hard to see this one happening. Even if the Mavs were willing to part with Smith Jr. and some picks, there’s no guarantee that the Cavs would even accept that offer. But if they did, this is probably what the trade would look like.
Mavs receive: Kyrie Irving ($18.8m/yr, 2 years), Channing Frye ($7.4m/yr, 1 year)
Cavs receive: Wesley Matthews ($17.8m/yr, 2 years), Dennis Smith Jr. ($3.2m/yr, 4 years), Josh McRoberts ($6m/yr, 1 year), two future 1st rounders (top-3 protected)
Do you want a potential superstar shooting guard to replace Wes Matthews and fit into the current age range of the Mavs’ newfound young core? If so, I present to you Bradley Beal. Not only could I see the Wizards potentially moving Beal for financial reasons, but his durability concerns could also help them make that decision. Although he played 77 games last season, Beal’s lengthy injury history is well documented, and if those problems start to surface again, I could see Washington thinking twice about wanting to pay Beal $25 million per year.
John Wall is only making $18 million per year right now, but that will increase drastically to about $42 million per year in 2019 after he officially signs his 4-year, $170 extension with the Wizards. Washington also matched the Brooklyn Nets’ max offer sheet to Otto Porter, who will now make around $25 million per year. If you did the math, the Wizards could be paying Wall, Beal and Porter a combined $92 million by 2019. Unless the NBA salary cap makes a gigantic leap by then, that scenario doesn’t sound ideal for the Wizards, especially if Beal’s injury issues come up again. Here is a Mavs trade that could be worth a call about.
Mavs receive: Bradley Beal ($24.7m/yr, 4 years), Jason Smith ($5.2m/yr, 2 years), Sheldon Mac ($1.3m/yr, 1 year)
Wizards receive: Wes Matthews ($17.8m/yr, 2 years), Josh McRoberts ($6m/yr, 1 year), Devin Harris ($4.4m/yr, 1 year), Seth Curry ($3m/yr, 1 year), future 1st round pick (top-3 protected)
This one actually kind of scares me, especially after reading this article the other day. Of course, all of that is mere speculation, but what if the Mavs really are starting to target Cousins? That piece suggests that Dallas would be targeting him next offseason, but I have an even more frightening scenario, and that is the Mavs trading for him this upcoming season.
Let’s walk through a couple of hypotheticals. Say the Mavs refuse to increase their current offer to Nerlens Noel (said to be north of $17 million, but nothing official yet), and he is forced to accept it to avoid risking his future on a 1-year qualifying offer. Say that after he signs, he becomes somewhat of a problem, whether in the locker room or not giving maximum effort on the court. Say things go south between DeMarcus Cousins (current salary is $18 million per year) and the New Orleans Pelicans this season. Say Cousins makes it known that he’s not staying in New Orleans, and the Mavs really really want him to be their guy. With all that in mind, I present to you this.
Mavs receive: DeMarcus Cousins ($18m/yr, 1 year)
Pelicans receive: Nerlens Noel ($17-$19m/yr, 3-5 years), trade exception if needed, conditional pick if it’s known that Cousins wants to stay in Dallas.
As mentioned before, every one these are just ideas to think about, but if the Mavs want to make a big splash, they need to keep their eyes peeled in the months ahead. If the circumstances are just right, they could potentially land themselves a star before it’s said and done.