Thanksgiving is here, and it’s a time for food, family, and friendship. But at some point you’re going to need a break from all that, and what better way to pass the time than by reading a Dallas Mavericks mailbag. We put out a call for questions, and you delivered. Here are your answers:
Is there any way the Mavericks could trade for Jonas Valanciunas? from Scott (@lynchscott41 on Twitter)
In short, no. The New Orleans Pelicans traded Steven Adams and three draft picks for Valanciunas and two picks. (They also traded Eric Bledsoe but never mind him.) So they really like him. The only way they move him is if the Mavericks offer a significant piece, and if that’s they case, did Dallas really move the needle by trading for Valanciunas?
However, the Pelicans season is quickly slipping away, so maybe they’re interested in trading him away. Dwight Powell for Valanciunas straight up works, and Powell has one less year on his contract. Maybe that’s interesting enough for the Pelicans to do. Dallas would probably have to include a draft pick, and at that point it’s not worth doing.
Maxi Kleber and Josh Green for Valanciunas works, too, and maybe the Pelicans think they can turn Green into something. Kleber has two years left on his contract, one less than Valanciunas, but I don’t know how Kleber fits into New Orleans’ plans if they’re not contending.
Valanciunas would be a good fit for the Mavericks, but there’s really no trade that fits between the two teams.
If Tim Hardaway Jr. isn’t hitting shots, should he be a sixth man? from Jose Mata (@paradoxkilla23 on Twitter)
I think so, but due to the Mavericks lack of depth, it makes sense to start him. You can’t justify starting Reggie Bullock over Hardaway, as Bullock is currently shooting 28% from behind the arc. There’s more to basketball than shooting, but at the end of the day the goal is to score.
There were times last year when Hardaway was the Mavericks’ second-best player. That was usually the result of Porzingis underperforming and the general lack of wing depth on the roster. But there’s no doubt that Hardaway won the Mavericks more than a handful of games last season. So yes, the best role for Hardaway is to come off the bench and just launch shots. But that’s not where the Mavericks are right now, roster-wise. Until they can find a more consistent shooting guard, they’ll just have to hope for a Tim Night, every night.
If Porzingis had taken last year off to get healthy and the last time we saw him was in the bubble, what impact would it have on how he’s seen by fans? from Ryan Denison (@rdenison13 on Twitter)
I’ll be honest, I had trouble answering this one. Fans would definitely be more positive in general. But I think Porzingis’ lack of mobility on defense would be glaringly obvious, and probably a bit of a shock. Overall, though, the Mavericks fanbase would have more patience with him. Then again, it’s possible that only getting one season out of three from a max contract player would have fans on edge.
Kirk [Henderson] suggested the Mavericks will make a deadline move. Does that include anyone not named Luka? from Frank Baiza (frankb_817 on Twitter)
I think so, though I doubt you’ll see a huge trade. The Mavericks quietly let teams know Porzingis was available last year, but obviously didn’t get any offers they liked. If they’re willing to trade him, they’ll trade anyone else. The one exception would probably be Jalen Brunson, who’s outplaying his contract right now. What I mean by that is he makes only $1.5 million but has been arguably the second best player on the team. Any player who would bring similar value on the court would be making much more than Brunson’s paltry salary. So it’s tough to find a trade that would make it worth it for the Mavericks and still work with the salary cap restrictions.
If every player was a Thanksgiving dish, what would they be? from Tyler B (@tsb4108 on Twitter)
I’m not going to hit every player, but:
Luka—He’s the turkey and dressing. Holds the meal together, doing way too much work, can’t picture the dinner without him.
Porzingis—Definitely macaroni and cheese. When it’s done right, it elevates the meal to a different level. When it’s bad, it just bums you out and can almost ruin your dining experience. There’s nothing worse than dry, crusty mac-n-cheese and Porzingis midrange post ups.
Maxi Kleber—Mashed potatoes. At first glance looks bland and boring, but is a solid starch that pairs well with the turkey. Maxi is never flashy but does a lot of important basketball things. But you’d never just eat mashed potatoes on their own, you know?
Dwight Powell—Green bean casserole. Kind of an abomination, doesn’t really make sense, yet keeps ending up on the Thanksgiving dinner table. It’s inexplicable that either continue to get big minutes. But the right people like them, like Luka and your aunt Margaret, so they stay in the rotation.
Jason Kidd—That weird cranberry jelly stuff. The meal would be just fine without it, and it really doesn’t add anything of value. Sometimes it actually messes up the meal. But because it’s tradition someone always brings it.
Brunson—That pie, whatever your favorite pie is, that your mom said she wasn’t going to make this year because she didn’t have time and then you show up to Thanksgiving dinner and she made it anyway as a surprise and it absolutely saves the day. That’s Brunson. Get well soon, Jalen.
What sides would Luka bring to Thanksgiving? from Brice Paterik (@BricePaterik on Twitter)
I’m not 100% sure, but I know he’d set the table beautifully, get the food to the table on time, and have perfect presentation on the plate. The whole thing would be set up wonderfully. And then his teammates would accidentally spill their food everywhere. Except maybe Brunson.
Power rank your Thanksgiving plate. from James Grambo (@JamesDGrambo on Twitter)
Okay now we’re talking:
1. Turkey. And I don’t want to hear this ham talk. Ham is for Christmas, turkey is for Thanksgiving.
2. Dressing. Do you eat dressing at any other time? No. It’s the perfect combo with turkey.
3. Mashed potatoes. Easily overlooked, always deliver, a breeze to cook. Important: place these top three items close together on your plate and drown them all with gravy.
4. Rolls. They must have lots of butter. Can be used to sop up leftover gravy on your plate at the end of the meal.
5. Macaroni and cheese. The cheesier the better. You should be able to feel your arteries clogging as you eat.
6. Sweet potato casserole. Can be a little too sweet for a side dish, but is still very good.
That’s all I’ve got, argue about them in the comments below, and happy Thanksgiving!
We have a Thanksgiving Special Podcast here. It’s really just a reairing of Josh and Kirk during the 2018 draft after Luka Doncic got drafted. If you can’t see the embed below, click here to be taken to it directly or go to your favorite app and search Mavs Moneyball podcast.