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New ESPN mock draft floats idea of Mavericks trading 10th pick, Tim Hardaway Jr. for Bojan Bogdanovic

With the draft getting closer, the rumors are heating up

Detroit Pistons v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

The NBA Draft is a week away, so naturally the rumors are flying. ESPN’s lead draft expert Jonathan Givony released his latest mock draft on Tuesday and it had a very interesting tidbit about the Mavericks and Detroit Pistons coming together on a trade centered around the Mavericks 10th pick and Pistons veteran forward Bojan Bogdanovic.

Sources told Givony that the Pistons could package Bogdanovic for the 10th pick, with the Mavericks additionally sending over Tim Hardaway Jr. to make the money work. So the final trade would be the 10th pick and Hardaway for Bogdanovic.

Here’s the full blurb Givony wrote about what the Pistons might do, emphasis added.

[Cam] Whitmore is getting looks at No. 4 with Houston, but many around the league believe Detroit is a natural landing spot for him considering the Pistons’ roster and the significant upside he offers. Whitmore is working out for teams across the top 10 — including Portland, Houston, Detroit, Orlando, Indiana and Utah — and making a strong impression with his shooting and explosiveness. His workout in Detroit on Monday gave him an opportunity to show the Pistons brass an opportunity to envision how he would fit in a backcourt with Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey. Some trade scenarios could be in play for the Pistons with the No. 31 pick as well, for example, packaging Bojan Bogdanovic for Tim Hardaway Jr. and the No. 10 pick, sources tell ESPN.

On paper this makes sense. Bogdanovic is a versatile scoring forward that the Mavericks have been linked to for years, while Detroit was interested in Hardaway during 2021 free agency and the Mavericks have been rumored to want to move on from Hardaway’s contract for some time. Only $2 million of Bogdanovic’s $19 million salary for the 2024-2025 season is guaranteed, so the Mavericks could basically swap Hardaway’s scoring for Bogdanovic’s while also cleaning up their future cap sheet.

As I said, that trade makes some sense, but it really feels like this rumor must have been sourced from the Pistons side of things, because this would in reality be a disastrous trade for the Mavericks. Bogdanovic is good, but he’s 34 and if the main purpose of this is to clear up cap room in the future and trading the 10th pick to do so, which could be the best asset the Mavericks have for the remainder of Luka Doncic’s current contract? Well, just go ahead and trade Doncic now if that’s the mentality. That’s why I feel like it must be sourced from people outside of Dallas. It makes sense for Dallas to trade the pick for more depth, a win-now veteran, or trading down to acquire more draft capital/depth but trading a top 10 pick for a 34-year-old forward (who did have a great season last in Detroit), who might not be around for more than one season, would be locking this team into an even more precarious position than it currently is. Dallas needs cheap, affordable, young talent. Whether they get that by taking a player at 10 or packaging it for another player or more draft picks down the road, is anyone’s guess. But trading out of the draft entirely to help clear the books in the future? I don’t believe the Mavericks are that dumb to do that.