As we inch closer to February 10 — the NBA trade deadline — one team Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens should keep his eye on during NBA trade SZN is the Dallas Mavericks.
The Mavericks have two starters — Jalen Brunson, Dorian Finney-Smith — on the final year of their respective contracts and could be parting ways with one, or both, as Dallas hopes to improve its roster once more before the postseason. However, would the Mavs, currently fifth in the Western Conference standings, consider trading for Celtics veteran Marcus Smart?
The latest Celtics news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Celtics newsletter here!
B/R: Mavs Interested in Marcus Smart
Per Pincus, Pistons forward Jerami Grant, Hawks center John Collins, and Smart are potential targets.
“One dark-horse team mentioned as being interested in Grant was the Dallas Mavericks, with Dorian Finney-Smith and probably Dwight Powell as the primary pieces,” Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus wrote. “The Mavericks have also been linked to Collins in Atlanta and Marcus Smart in Boston.”
Celtics’ Marcus Smart to Dallas for Jalen Brunson?
Brunson will be a terrific replacement if the Celtics are serious about replacing Smart as Ime Udoka’s starting point guard before the deadline. Averaging a career-high 15.8 points 5.5 assists, per Basketball-Reference.com, Jalen’s having the best season of his career. However, his expiring deal gives the Mavs incentive to move Brunson for cap flexibility.
With Kristaps Porzingis, who makes over $31 million per, signed through 2023-24 and Luka Doncic’s max deal starting at $35.7 million set to kick in 2022-23 on the books, bringing Brunson back would constrict Dallas’ financial flexibility. This is where the Celtics could step in to help alleviate the Mavs’ immediate concerns.
Here’s how a potential trade could work.
- Boston Celtics receive:
- Jalen Brunson, PG
- Reggie Bullock, SF
- Dallas Mavericks receive:
- Marcus Smart, PG
- 2023 second-round pick
Smart, who inked a four-year contract extension worth $77 million in 2021, would elevate the Mavs’ defense as they’ll look to make a deep playoff run this season. Dallas is currently fourth in the NBA in defensive efficiency, according to Teamrankings.com.
Mavs’ Reggie Bullock Shooting Could Help Celtics
And for Stevens to make it worth their wild, he’s going to have to take on some long-term salary in the form of 3-and-D wing Reggie Bullock, who inked a three-year, $30.5 million deal with Dallas in 2021, per Sports Illustrated.
This potential move would save the Mavs some money and strengthen their defense as they’ll look to make it out of the playoffs’ first round for the first time since 2011 — which was their last title run. For the Celtics, the potential move addresses two of their most significant weaknesses this season — passing and shooting.
In contrast to Smart, Brunson is a better passer, and while Bullock is having a down year in Dallas this season, he averaged 10.9 points and made 41% of his 3-pointers, per Basketball-Reference.com, for the Knicks in 2020-21.