Mavericks Have ‘Touched Base’ About Trade for Former Player

Nerlens Noel, now of the Detroit Pistons, and Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks.

Getty Nerlens Noel, now of the Detroit Pistons, and Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks.

It’s been an imperfect season for the Dallas Mavericks thus far. Luka Doncic is putting up ridiculous numbers, but there isn’t necessarily enough talent around him to cement the Mavericks as a championship favorite.

One potential need could be the big man position. They signed JaVale McGee this summer in an attempt to fill the need, but he hasn’t quite panned out the way they had hoped. According to Ian Begley of SNY, the Mavericks have recently held trade talks with the Detroit Pistons surrounding Nerlens Noel.

“Also on the trade front, the Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons touched base recently on trade talks in which Nerlens Noel’s name came up,” Begley wrote. “Noel, the former Knick, has drawn interest from several contending teams who have struggled with rim protection. Noel was a key force for New York’s defense in 2021, when the club made a surprise run to the playoffs.”

Nerlens played in Dallas for a year and a half from 2016 to 2018. He put up solid numbers in his first stint with the Mavericks but hasn’t been quite the same since.

He was traded to the Pistons this summer but has only appeared in six games for them this year, playing 10.3 minutes per contest. Noel is averaging 1.8 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.

However, his career averages look a lot more impressive. Over the course of his career, the 28-year-old has played 22.3 minutes per contest, averaging 7.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.5 blocks on 54.7% shooting from the floor.

Mavericks Urged to Trade for Center

Noel isn’t the only center who has been linked to the Mavericks as a potential trade candidate. According to Michael Mulford of Sports Illustrated, the Mavericks should attempt to trade for Washington Wizards center Daniel Gafford.

“It feels like Gafford has been a player who Mavs fans salivate over in recent matchups, as he always seems to play well against Dallas,” Mulford wrote. “In Washington’s 113-105 victory against Dallas on Nov. 10, Gafford finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks in 24 minutes off the bench.”

The big man has played pretty well for the Wizards this year, but his minutes are at an all-time low with Kristaps Porzingis with the team for his first full season. Gafford has appeared in all 24 of the team’s games so far, playing 13.3 minutes per contest. The big man is averaging 5.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game on 72.2% shooting from the field.

Mavericks Have ‘Two-Year’ Window

The Mavericks have Doncic at the helm, which is a phenomenal place to be in. However, they only have so much time until his contract is up. According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, they may only have a couple of seasons to convince him to stay for the long haul.

“I think [the Mavericks] have a two-year window,” McMahon said on the Hoop Collective podcast this week. “This season and next season going into that [2024] summer. I think they have a two-year window where, you know, like Milwaukee did with Giannis [Antetokounmpo], I think in that window they really need to convince Luka that he has a chance to contend year in and year out right here in Dallas. If they can’t get it done in that two-year window, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that he’s going to force a trade or ask for a trade. I’m just saying at that point if he’s not happy, he has all the leverage in the world if he would be looking to leave.”

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