The Dallas Mavericks traded for Washington Wizards center Daniel Gafford. Earlier today as the trade happened I asked for everyone’s instant reactions, even before we knew what the draft compensation would be. Here’s what the team had to say:
Matt: What do I look like to you, a guy who watches Washington Wizards games in my free time? Still, Gafford is a guy whose name has come up when fans have talked about wishlist guys to add to this team. We’ve seen how impactful having a competent center in Dereck Lively has been, and so to have a rock solid backup/spot starter in Gafford is going to be a big upgraded over the deck chairs Dallas has been shuffling around this season looking to fill those minutes. Swapping Holmes, a guy we HOPED could be that guy, for Gafford, a guy with a PROVEN history of being able to be that guy — AND he’s 25, AND he’s under contract for two more years? Not a lot to dislike.
Matt M.: The Gafford move seems to have been a pretty deft one from the Mavs’ front office. To have a young yet established 11/8 guy come in here and play the backup five represents a decent-sized step up in the Mavs’ outlook this season. He’s really efficient at the rim. He’s a rebounding upgrade over what the Mavs currently have. Love that he’s under contract for two more years — that gives this deal one more level of possible returns because if the team really likes this guy — if the Mavs become more formidable in the lane as a result of this move — he can become a longer-term piece.
Gracie: I love Gafford for the Mavericks. His defensive prowess and explosiveness will be a great addition for the Mavs. He’s a great roll-man, so he will quickly build a strong chemistry with Luka and Kyrie. He’s crazily efficient at the rim. It will be Lob City in Dallas with Gafford and Lively. He’s on a super-team friendly deal, with three years left and an average salary of 13 mil/year. He will be a great backup big for the Mavericks and will be able to slide in perfectly when Lively is out of the lineup. While we are still unsure of what the draft compensation will be included, I am still high on the deal that will give the Mavericks and Lively some relief at the five-man position.
Brent: Rewind the calendar a year and the Mavericks still had JaVale McGee buried on their bench and Dwight Powell in the starting lineup. The Mavericks took a disproportionate amount of grief in the national press for tanking and survived ping-pong ball roulette to draft the best rookie center in franchise history. They now appear to be adding a player in Gafford who should directly address the non-Lively minutes and improve the defense greatly. Based on his Wizards career, Gafford is a low to mid-tier starter but an elite backup - and young enough to reasonably expect an even better version to emerge away from the perpetual lab experiment that is Washington and catching lobs from two of the best to ever toss them. What a difference a year makes.
Jack: Spending what essentially amounts to a first-round pick swap on Gafford feels like an overpay, but it’s certain that he represents a major upgrade for the Mavericks center rotation. Gafford is 7th in the NBA in blocks; he’s a major deterrent in the paint. On offense, he’s an elite rim runner and finisher at the basket, giving the Mavericks the ability to pair their star guards with a dangerous vertical threat for 48 minutes. The one downside to Gafford is that he is not a good defensive rebounder. His defensive rebound percentage is at just 17.9%, which is 66th among qualified NBA players and in the 28th percentile among all centers. Still, he’s a huge upgrade over Powell (13.6 DRB%) and brings much needed size to Dallas. Having two capable centers also reduces the need to play Maxi Kleber for long stretches at the five, which will go a long way toward keeping him fresh.
David: Love this move for Dallas. Getting essentially a Lively clone makes Dallas’ paint presence significant for the whole game. He’s young, on a good contract, and fills a role of need. My only concern is that down the road him and Lively will both be too good for one team and one will get dealt. I love him as a player and I can’t wait to see him on this team.
Kirk: Adding more size is good! My Bulls fans friends and Wizards fans friends insist I may not be happy for a month but another large pick and roll partner for Luka Dončić is a good thing!
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