The Dallas Mavericks have done well to put themselves in the thick of the Western Conference, sitting in fourth place as we enter the second week of January. But they should be far from finished tinkering with the roster.
The first roster move came with Kemba Walker‘s release last week. Though more of a money-saving action designed to give more time to rookie Jaden Hardy, the waiver was perhaps the first sign of other moves coming down the pike.
For instance, the Mavericks are interested in landing Pistons shooting aficionado Bojan Bogdanovic. But what might it take to land the scorer? According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, the Mavericks might be able to kill two birds with one stone: land Bogdanovic and get off one of the league’s more unseemly contracts.
But it will likely cost Dallas a pretty penny.
“The Dallas Mavericks are on the list (of teams interested in Bogdanovic), but one source said the Pistons would demand the Mavericks’ 2027 first-round pick (probably with a player like Davis Bertans, whose contract isn’t pretty).”
Bertans is in the second season of a five-year, $80 million contract. That salary puts him in the neighborhood of forward Lauri Markkanen (24.6 points, 8.3 rebounds per game), guard Dejounte Murray (20.5 points, 6.2 assists per game), and wing OG Anunoby (18.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.2 steals per game). Bertans, by comparison, is averaging 4.2 points and 0.9 rebounds per game.
Thus, in exchange for the Pistons taking back Dallas’ ugly contract, a first-round pick would have to be attached to any deal for Bogdanovic. But it could all be worth it for Dallas to increase its playoff chances by landing Bogdanovic, who is scoring 21.0 points per game on over 41% shooting from three.
Luka Showers Praise on Rookie Hardy
With Walker out of the way now, the Mavericks will likely give more time to rookie Jaden Hardy. And if you ask Luka, it’s music to his ears.
“Amazing,” Doncic said of Hardy. “He gave us the pace. He was just attacking all the time. They couldn’t stop him. He’s a great player, and you can see it.”
But Hardy is far from the elite talent Luka needs in the Lone Star State.
According to Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, Dallas has failed to get a co-star for Doncic, and they aren’t anywhere close to finding one.
“Dallas desperately needs a second star to help maximize Dončić’s prime and give him a real shot at championship contention,” Buckley said. “Of course, that’s been true for quite a while now, and there’s no reason to think the Mavs are any closer to finding one.”
Dallas’ cap sheet and bleak draft stock make it difficult to imagine the team being able to pull off a significant trade before the summer.
Mavericks Could Swap Bertans for Duncan Robinson
Bogdanovic isn’t the only one the Mavericks could be targeting with Bertans as a salary matcher. In Dallas’ never-ending quest for shooting, Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney heard that the Mavericks could also be in on Duncan Robinson of the Miami Heat.
“And Dallas is a team that had interest [in Duncan Robinson]; maybe they will again. If they were to swap out Robinson for Davis Bertans with the Heat getting a draft pick, Miami could use the pick in another deal. Robinson is a better player and might get himself back on track playing with Luka. Bertans has a shorter deal [three years, with Robinson’s deal going four years]. It would work out for everyone if the Heat can get another player for the pick,” an Eastern Conference executive told Deveney recently.
Robinson recently set a three-point record for the Miami Heat, though he’s far from the shooting and playoff threat of Bogdanovic.