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Potential Mavericks’ trade targets we’re hearing about after the Pascal Siakam bubble burst

A dark-horse option begins to materialize. Might sitting on their hands be the savviest move of all for the Mavs?

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Portland Trail Blazers v Dallas Mavericks
(L-R) General managers Joe Cronin of the Portland Trail Blazers and Nico Harrison of the Dallas Mavericks talk before the game at American Airlines Center on January 03, 2024 in Dallas, Texas.
Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images

The Mavericks have missed out on the biggest fish in this year’s trade waters. The Indiana Pacers made a deal Wednesday with the NBA’s most motivated sellers, the Toronto Raptors, for coveted power forward Pascal Siakam.

But trade winds continue to sweep across the NBA landscape through 3 p.m. EST on February 8, the deadline for teams to make deals. The Mavs’ available assets were not attractive enough to compete with an Indiana offer including three first-round draft picks and Bruce Brown. So we move.

We here at Mavs Moneyball have a strong preference against writing purely speculative, online-trade-machine-based posts this time of year. You can find content like that just about anywhere, so have at it. My point in mentioning that is that in this piece, we wanted to get more familiar with some of the potential remaining trade targets the Mavs may have a chance at, and what it might take to bring them here.

But we wanted to look at it from a realistic standpoint. So to make our list of potential realistic trade targets, the players in question need to either be linked to the Mavs by solid, trusted reporting somewhere we can link to, or fit our own ideas about what the Mavericks need in the trade market in the context of what the team’s assets may command in return.

This is not a list of “guys we want” by any means. It’s mainly a function of who is available in the current market that fits the Mavericks’ needs to varying degrees and/or have been previously linked to Dallas in credible news reports — credible being the operative word.

After reading the blurbs below on each guy, we’re curious how many of you feel like the savviest move the Mavs could make is making no moves at all before the trade deadline. Is sitting tight for now and keeping what trade ammo Dallas has in its pocket a wiser play than settling for one or two of the below?

At this point, there appears to be no shortage of truth to the notion that what the Mavs have in the trade cabinet just isn’t very attractive out there in the open market. Dallas may only be able to afford depreciated assets right now — that’s exactly what made them the perfect suitor for Kyrie Irving last year. I mean, the most attractive portion of the Siakam deal were the three first-round draft picks Indiana sent them in return. The only first-rounder the Mavs could realistically deal before the trade deadline this year is their 2027 first-round pick. Other pieces that could be moved include Josh Green, Jaden Hardy, Grant Williams, Tim Hardaway Jr., Richaun Holmes, developmental rookie Olivier-Maxence Prosper and a couple upcoming second-round picks.

It’s time to consider that your favorite team just might not be able to pull off that splashy trade you made work on the online trade calculator. But while it’s still tire-kicking season, let’s kick the tires on:

Blazers F Jerami Grant

Brooklyn Nets v Portland Trail Blazers
Jerami Grant #9 of the Portland Trail Blazers drives to the basket during the game against the Brooklyn Nets on January 17, 2024 at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon.
Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images

Yahoo! Sports NBA reporter Jake Fischer made the bold claim Wednesday that Portland Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant “would make an absolute difference-maker for both Dallas and the Sacramento Kings.” But you only have to continue reading for like 2.5 seconds longer before you get the caveat that “Portland is not expected to seriously entertain offers for Grant,” according to their sources, and that the Blazers are more likely to move veteran point guard Malcolm Brogdon.

Fischer is quite a bit more bullish on the fit between Grant and the Mavericks than we are in the Mavs Moneyball bullpen. To say we’re more split on the idea would be a generous assessment. That five-year, $160 million albatross of a contract is the first, second and third reason why. But Grant does check a few of the boxes that the Mavs need to get checked.

He’d be a definite upgrade along the wing for the Mavs with his 21.4-point scoring average and 41.9% shooting from 3-point territory this year. But taking on Grant’s contract at this point seems about as unlikely for the Mavs as Fischer says the Blazers are about even entertaining offers for whatever reason. So what are we even doing here again?

Knicks G Quentin Grimes

New York Knicks v Dallas Mavericks
Quentin Grimes #6 of the New York Knicks handles the ball during the game against the Dallas Mavericks on January 11, 2024 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

The New York Post is reporting that New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeaux has gotten crossways recently with 23-year-old backup shooting guard Quentin Grimes and is citing a source that tells them that the Mavericks are interested. Well, color us confused.

He’s a third-year guard averaging 7.1 points per game and hitting 39% of his 3-point attempts this year. It seems like the Mavericks already have at least a couple of those. Do you want to exchange Seth Curry for him? Does that move the needle for anyone? Bueller? Anyone? Moving on.

Wizards F Kyle Kuzma

Detroit Pistons v Washington Wizards
Kyle Kuzma #33 of the Washington Wizards dribbles the ball up court against the Detroit Pistons at Capital One Arena on January 15, 2024 in Washington, DC.
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Kyle Kuzma is another of those long, athletic wings in the Jerami Grant mold who would be an automatic upgrade at wing for the Mavs, so there’s a certain amount of “good fit” baked in. His 4-year, $90-million contract is significantly less painful than Grant’s’ and his numbers are quite similar to Grant’s this season — slightly better even in some spots.

The catch with Kuzma is going to be similar to a lot of the potential trade targets on this list, though. The Athletic estimates “Kuzma’s current price tag to be something in the vein of two first-round picks or equivalent value.”

Does that mean the Mavs are automatically out of the running? No. But making two firsts or the equivalent value the starting bid for Kuzma drives up the likelihood the Mavs will be outbid in the end, as was the case with Siakam. We’re intrigued by the prospect, but not optimistic.

Hawks F Clint Capela

San Antonio Spurs v Atlanta Hawks
Clint Capela #15 of the Atlanta Hawks slam dunks the ball over Dominick Barlow #26 of the San Antonio Spurs during the first half at State Farm Arena on January 15, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images

The Mavericks were linked to Capela in trade discussions in the offseason more than in the current trade deadline context, but the fit isn’t any less apparent now than it was then. However, it’s uncertain at the moment whether Capela’s current team the Atlanta Hawks are sellers in the trade market or not.

The Hawks were reportedly shopping one of, if not both, Capela and/or De’Andre Hunter earlier during this trade window, so unless something has changed, you’d have to think the Mavs would still be interested, but the two sides’ inability to get anything done over the offseason doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence that a deal could get done before the Feb. 8 deadline.

For what it’s worth, Capela is averaging just over 11 points, 10 rebounds and just under two blocks per game this year and is under contract for one more season at a cap hit of $20 million this year and $22 million next year. So, this one seems more doable for Dallas, at least on paper.

Hornets F P.J. Washington

Charlotte Hornets v Miami Heat
P.J. Washington #25 of the Charlotte Hornets handles the ball during the game against the Miami Heat on January 14, 2024 at Kaseya Center in Miami, Florida.
Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

Yahoo! Sports reported that the next three on the list have been “linked to” the Mavs in trade talks at one point or another this season, for whatever that’s worth. The case of P.J. Washington in particular is an interesting one. Washington would fit well in Dallas due to his defensive versatility, his potential as a spot-up shooter if not his efficiency this season, and his upside, as he’s only 25 years old. He can play both power forward and small-ball center and might be a sneaky-nice piece for the future.

Washington is averaging 12.7 points and 5.3 rebounds this year on 39% shooting from 3-point territory this season. He’s in the first of a three-year, roughly $45-million contract, which makes a deal more feasible for Dallas than some other options on this list. He’s intriguing because he’s either a guy who likely either develops and gets better with the young nucleus here in Dallas, or he can be moved more easily than a lot of the other options on this list.

Warriors F Andrew Wiggins

Golden State Warriors v Memphis Grizzlies
Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Golden State Warriors drives to the basket against GG Jackson #45 of the Memphis Grizzlies during the game at FedExForum on January 15, 2024 in Memphis, Tennessee.
Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

The possibility of upgrading the wing position by adding Andrew Wiggins to the current Mavs roster would be a heck of a lot more of an interesting idea if he wasn’t currently smack in the middle of the worst season of his NBA career.

We like to joke in the Mavs Moneyball Slack channels about the current Dallas Mavericks we’d be okay trading away for “a sack of potatoes” or “a Subway Club card that still needs two hole punches for a free sandwich” or “a year’s supply of throat lozenges.” It feels like this is the point they’re quickly reaching with Wiggins out by the Bay. He’s exactly the kind of distressed asset the Mavs may have a shot at under their own current roster limitations, but the big question here would be, “Why?”

His scoring has dove off a cliff this year from hovering in the 17-19 point range for the last 5 seasons to less than 12 points a game this year on just 42.2% shooting from the field and a dreadful 29% on his 3-point attempts. If and only if the Mavs brass feels like a change of scenery is the answer for Wiggins, it could be an intriguing acquisition if Dallas can buy extra low.

Nets F Dorian Finney-Smith

Brooklyn Nets v Portland Trail Blazers
Dorian Finney-Smith #28 and Cameron Johnson #2 of the Brooklyn Nets box out Jabari Walker #34 of the Portland Trail Blazers during the game on January 17, 2024 at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon.
Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images

What a full-circle moment a DFS-to-Dallas reunion would be, wouldn’t it? Don’t let your love for his time as Dallas’ lone defensive stopper and ride-or-die rotation player cloud your perception of today’s trade landscape.

As far as we can tell, the DFS-to-Dallas possibility was first reported by the folks at HoopsHype, an offshoot of the Gannet/USATODAY media empire. However, if the price tag for Finney-Smith is indeed as high as those initial reports indicate, a deal this year should be a non-starter. HoopsHype cited league sources who said they expected Brooklyn to ask for two first-round draft picks or equivalent value for DFS, the same ask the Wizards are making for Kuzma, who scores more than 22 points a game this year.

It’s a no from me, dog. It’s so far away from Finney-Smith’s realistic value, the Mavs may as well not even counter-offer. Just smile, thank the Nets’ suits for their time and keep moving.

Bulls G Alex Caruso

Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers
Alex Caruso #6 of the Chicago Bulls drives to the basket during the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on January 15, 2024 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio.
Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

We’ll be brief about our last two possibilities, because while we once heard whispers about the Mavericks’ interest in someone like Alex Caruso, more recently the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Bulls consider Caruso “almost untouchable.”

Whether or not that was floated out there purposefully to get potential suitors to offer a little more in return for the defensive specialist and ultimate glue guy or because the Bulls are genuinely leaning toward keeping Caruso is known only by those in the room, of course.

In any case, it seems like Caruso is the kind of name that will drum up more potential interest around the league than any Mavs’ offer could compete with. Part of his attractiveness to potential suitors is that he costs so little in the remaining two years on his current deal: just $9.5 million this year and just shy of $10 million next season.

Jazz F Lauri Markkanen

Oklahoma City Thunder v Utah Jazz
Lauri Markkanen #23 of the Utah Jazz shoots against Cason Wallace #22 of the Oklahoma City Thunder during the first half of a game at Delta Center on January 18, 2024 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

While Markkanen seems like a near-perfect potential fit in a hypothetical future Mavs roster with his size and skill as a stretch-4, this is likely another pipe dream.

“The Jazz are by no means expected to trade the 7-foot sharpshooter at this juncture,” according to a separate Yahoo! Sports report. “He has been a true favorite of Jazz officials, sources said. But Utah has indeed left opposing executives with the sense that Markkanen is no longer untouchable in trade conversations, league sources told Yahoo Sports, a tangible change from previous transaction windows.”

While he may no longer be untouchable, the way the Markkanen trade narrative is being framed, he’s likely another one of the options on this list the Mavs just don’t have the firepower to acquire.

Who are your favorite potential Mavs trade targets with less than 3 weeks before the NBA trade deadline? Did we miss anyone on this list? Feel free to sound off in the comment section on which direction you think the Mavs will go before Feb. 8.