The Dallas Mavericks are coming off of an extremely successful season. After two years of falling short in the first round, Luka Doncic finally broke through and made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals. And now, Dallas will be hungry for more.
They traded for big man Christian Wood ahead of the draft and followed that up by signing JaVale McGee in free agency. While losing Jalen Brunson to the New York Knicks was a bit of a gut punch, they still have plenty of time to retool ahead of next year.
However, what if they decided to plan even more ahead? Instead of trying to go all in this year, they could instead choose to prepare for next offseason in an attempt to pair Doncic with another star. At least, that’s what Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report thinks they could do.
Here’s the outline of the trade Swartz proposed:
Mavericks receive: Russell Westbrook, 2027 1st-Rounc Pick, 2029 1st-Round Pick
Lakers receive: Tim Hardaway Jr., Reggie Bullock, Davis Bertans
Again, the purpose of this trade would not be for the Mavericks to make a run at the Finals this upcoming season, but instead, it would help them prep for the future.
Mavericks Would Free Up Cap Space
By trading Hardaway Jr., Bertans, and Bullock in one fell swoop, the Mavericks would open up a ton of cap space next offseason. This would allow them to attempt to pair a star alongside Doncic, as noted by Swartz.
“Losing Hardaway, Bertans and Bullock may hurt the Mavs’ chances at competing for a title in 2023, but it also opens up $45.4 million in cap space next summer, meaning Dallas would have room to sign a max-level free agent to pair with Doncic,” Swartz wrote.
It was also mentioned that, despite losing these key three players and Brunson, the Mavericks would still have a solid core around Doncic.
“The Mavs also pick up a future first as trade ammo and get a young player in Reaves to insert into the rotation to help make up for the loss of Hardaway. A core of Doncic, Wood, Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, JaVale McGee, Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell is still good and now has a far better long-term outlook,” said Swartz.
Plus, even though they weren’t able to sign Brunson, the Mavericks are still in a bit of a bind financially speaking.
Mavericks Not Flush With Cash
Mark Cuban might be one of the richest owners in the NBA, but that doesn’t mean the Mavericks don’t have to abide by the cap. And right now, they’re in a tricky spot. But by making this deal, they would be able to fix that sooner rather than later.
“The Mavericks, even after letting Jalen Brunson walk for nothing this offseason, are $14.6 million over the luxury-tax line. Their bloated cap sheet is filled with role players who are being paid above their actual worth, not to mention newly acquired big man Christian Wood, who will need a new contract next summer,” explained Swartz.
The idea of having Westbrook in the lineup next to Doncic may not seem too enticing, but if the Mavericks really didn’t want to play him, they could always buy him out or simply bench him. Regardless, his deal would be up at the end of the season. That’s the important factor to note in this proposal and the primary reason why Dallas should consider this deal.