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What draft picks can the Dallas Mavericks trade?

Explaining what draft capital the Mavericks can move, if they choose to do so, before the NBA trade deadline

NBA: Lottery Draft Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

There’s some confusion right now about what can and cannot happen with the Dallas Mavericks prior to Thursday’s NBA Trade deadline. Here’s a quick rundown of what can and cannot happen according to the current rules regarding trading NBA draft picks.

Draft picks in trades only go out 7 drafts in the future. That’s why the list of currently trade-eligible draft picks only goes until 2030. After the 2024 draft, teams will be able to complete trades using picks from the 2031 draft.

Let’s first look at the Mavericks first and second-round picks for the next seven drafts and see if the Mavericks still own it.

Of our next 7 drafts, the Mavericks own these picks:

Do the Mavericks have anyone else’s picks?

Yes. They have two second-round picks from other teams:

  • The Toronto Raptor’s2025 second round selection
  • The Miami Heat’s 2028 second-round selection

What CAN the Mavericks trade?

Even though Dallas have five of their next seven first-round picks, that does not mean we can trade five, four, three, or even two of them right now. The Stepien Rule prohibits teams from trading in such a way that they would have any chance of going 2 consecutive “future” drafts with a first-round pick. The Mavericks owe their 2029 first-rounder to the Nets. Therefore, the Mavericks cannot make any trade where they would have the possibility of not having a first in 2028 or 2030. That does not mean they have to have their own first-round pick, just any pick in the first round, even another team’s. That is why they were able to trade swap rights San Antonio for their 2030 first-rounder.

How does that work with the Mavericks owing the Knicks a top 10 protected 2024 first? And then if the Mavericks did finish in the top 10 again, how does that affect their ability to trade a first right now?

I’ve seen many state boldly that the Mavericks can’t trade their 2026 first because the protections for the pick we owe the Knicks go through 2025. This is partially true and false. The Mavs cannot trade their 2026 in a guaranteed many the way they traded their 2029 pick to the Nets last year for Kyrie.

However, they can use the “first available draft” language to give a pick that can end up being the 2026. This is exactly what happened when the Mavericks traded for Kristaps Porzingis. At that point, Dallas still owed the Hawks a protected first-rounder that could have been in the 2019, 2020, or 2021 draft. You might have thought that the Mavericks couldn’t have traded any of those picks, but they did. They used the “first available draft” type language to give the Knicks our 2021 first (unprotected, I might add) and then another protected first which Dallas still owes.

So what can the Mavericks offer?

The Mavericks can trade a “first available draft” first that would be the 2026 if Dallas conveys the 2024 first to the Knicks. If the first-round pick to the Knicks is conveyed in 2025, then the “first available draft” would be 2027. (Side note: if the Mavericks were trading an unprotected “first available draft” first AND the Knicks pick didn’t convey in 2024 or 2025 THEN I believe 2025 might be the “first available draft”. However, I’m not 100% sure so I’ll leave this possibility out of the conclusion)

Dallas could trade their 2027 first as well. One issue here is that it would seem to be an all-or-nothing for that team and the Mavericks. They would either give the 2027 first, unprotected. Leaving the team very vulnerable in three out of four drafts in 2027, 2029, and 2030. Or they’d give the 2027 protected first and the other team would get an asset that might mean nothing. The Mavericks could make the 2028 Miami second rounder as the protected compensation. Dallas could make an unprotected 2028 swap as compensation. These options seem to complicate the balancing act of a trade.

Conclusion

  • All the Maverickss players can be traded with one complicated situation (Green, click here for more)
  • The entire draft pick war chest for the Mavericks at the 2024 trade deadline contains only 3 picks. One 1st rounder and two 2nds.