Trade season just got a little more interesting for the Dallas Mavericks. Currently on a four-game win streak, the Mavericks find themselves just half a game out of fifth place and two out of third in the Western Conference.
With all of this momentum, could the Mavericks turn out to be buyers at the trade deadline? According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, the answer is a possible yes, with Dallas closely monitoring the Chicago Bulls’ $215 million star Zach LaVine.
“I just know that there are fans of [Zach LaVine] that hold prominent positions within the Mavericks,” MacMahon said on The Lowe Post podcast on Tuesday. “Again, I’m not sitting here and telling you there’s some great consensus. I think there’s enough fans of him where I wouldn’t totally rule it out.”
With LaVine in just the first year of a five-year, $215 million deal, the Mavericks would need to do some heavy salary matching to pull off the deal.
Mapping Out a Deal for LaVine
For his part, LaVine has shut down rumors about a potential Bulls exit.
“Zach LaVine said on the Bulls postgame radio show that all of the rumors lately about this team is just ‘outside noise’,” tweeted Chicago sports reporter Daniel Greenberg.
That said, if the Bulls did ignite a full-on rebuild, moving on from LaVine would be good financial sense. Plus, given LaVine’s All-Star past, the team could likely recoup significant assets for him in return.
For Dallas, this trade might be a tough pill to swallow.
Given LaVine’s salary alone, the Mavs would likely have to include at least two of Spencer Dinwiddie ($20 million this season), Davis Bertans ($16 million this season), and Christian Wood ($14.3 million this season) in a trade.
Of those, Wood is likely the most palatable for the Bulls: his contract is expiring this season, meaning the Bulls could quickly get off his money. But he’s also likely the most promising of those players and, though 27, the youngest of the bunch.
And then there are the picks. Having shipped this year’s first to the New York Knicks in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, the Mavs are currently without a first-rounder this year to give up.
Unfortunately, the Bulls are in the same boat, having sent its first-rounder to the Orlando Magic in a deal for Nikola Vucevic.
But Chicago might look at Dallas’ failed attempts to land Luka a serious co-star and bet that the Slovenian superstar wants out in a few years. After all, the Mavs have a “two-year window” to convince Doncic to stay in Dallas, according to MacMahon. The Bulls could then target a few post-2025 picks from Dallas and keep their fingers crossed that disaster strikes the Lone Star State.
With Wood, Bertans, and Dinwiddie all likely on the table for salary filler, there’s still one player Chicago might target purely for upside.
Is Josh Green Available for the Mavericks?
If there’s anyone on the Mavericks who should interest the Bulls, it’s likely Josh Green. At 22, Green would fit into Chicago’s rebuilding timeline and provide some of the shooting the team would be sacrificing in LaVine.
But according to Tim Cato of The Athletic, the Mavericks think highly of Green, so much so that he might be untradeable for Dallas.
“[M]y understanding is that the Mavericks would be very hesitant to trade Green at this point,” Cato said last week. “One person in the front office told me that he considered him the team’s third-most important player after Dončić and [Spencer] Dinwiddie. It’s a stance I agree with for the reasons listed above.”
In LaVine, the Mavs would be taking a bet on the All-Star’s past, betting that he can live up to his sharpshooting history. In Green, the team would bank on his future, keeping in mind that Green’s flashes this season should be enough to suggest long-term promise.