The Dallas Mavericks have a Jalen Brunson-sized hole in their lineup. While Spender Dinwiddie should be able to step into the starting lineup and take over that role, but that still doesn’t replace the overall production Brunson brought to the lineup.
Dallas did add two solid big men – Christian Wood and JaVale McGee – this summer, but their guard position is still lacking. Guys like Tyler Dorsey, Jaden Hardy, and Josh Green will have a chance to pick up the slack, but the Mavericks will likely be looking at potential trade targets moving forward.
After this year, they will have more picks available to them to throw in trades. In a mailbag, Matthew T Phillips of Mavs Moneyball was asked about potential trade targets. The top name mentioned as a preferred target was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“The immediate target that comes to mind is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The Oklahoma City Thunder value draft picks more than any team since the “Process” Philadelphia 76ers.
“Gilgeous-Alexander has the size the Mavericks prefer in Doncic’s back court partners but far more ability than anyone else the Mavericks have employed. Gilgeous-Alexander’s defense has slid considerably the last couple of seasons but he is still gifted on that end. If the Mavericks can get him for two or three picks and two swaps they should do so.” Phillips wrote.
While his name has been constantly thrown in the rumor mill, there have been no actual indications that he’s been made available in trade talks. Although, as noted by Phillips, Presti does value draft picks.
If Gilgeous-Alexander doesn’t become available, Dallas could turn their attention to free agency. One name that stands out is Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown.
Brown Linked to Mavericks as Potential Suitor
While Brown won’t be a free agent until 2024, sources who spoke to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com have already begun speculating which teams could make a run at him on the open market. The Mavericks were among the teams mentioned.
“At some point, they’re going to have to stop trying to hit doubles and go for the home run if they want a guy they can put with Luka,” an Eastern Conference executive told Deveney. “They don’t have a lot to work with for assets, they just don’t. So it is going to be very hard to trade for someone, but they can maybe do themselves some favors in free agency if they can be patient and convince Luka to be patient. There’s not a lot there in 2023, so 2024 is their best choice and Brown will be the best guy there. There are other guys—(Pascal) Siakam, (Khris) Middleton—so you have some backup plans. But at some point, you’ve got to try to get that star.”
Brown was thrown around in Kevin Durant trade rumors this summer, so some believe that by the time 2024 rolls around, he could be sick of Boston. Both he and Gilgeous-Alexander would fit perfectly.
How Gilgeous-Alexander, Brown Would Fit
In the case of Gilgeous-Alexander, the Mavericks would be getting a top-tier secondary ball-handler who is fully capable of creating his own shot. That’s almost exactly the role Brunson played in Dallas, only Gilgeous-Alexander is younger and does all those things at a higher level.
As for Brown, while he may not be as good of a ball handler, his defensive impact would give Dallas’ lineup a major boost. Plus, he’s very capable of playing both the shooting guard and small forward positions.
And it’s important to remember that while adding a guard to the lineup would be ideal, once the Mavericks have the necessary picks available to them to make a move, they’ll likely be targeting any star on the market.