The Dallas Mavericks would form an all-time NBA Big Three of Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, and Luka Doncic in a blockbuster trade proposal involving four former lottery picks from Dallas Basketball’s Dalton Trigg.
Trigg’s proposal would deliver “The King” to the Lone Star State while sending Tim Hardaway Jr. and Christian Wood (on a sign-and-trade) to the Phoenix Suns along with D’Angelo Russell from the Los Angeles Lakers. L.A. would land Chris Paul, Deandre Ayton, Maxi Kleber, and a 2027 first-round pick from the Mavericks.
While Dallas landing James is nearly self-explanatory when it comes to the Mavericks’ intentions — that obviously being wanting to elevate a core of Doncic and Irving to the franchise’s second championship –, Trigg explained the “why” behind this deal from Phoenix and Los Angeles’ perspectives.
“If the Suns move on from Paul and Ayton, they’ll need a new point guard and big man,” Trigg prefaced before saying, “D’Angelo Russell likely isn’t returning to the Lakers no matter what, and he’s good friends with Suns star Devin Booker, so we could see that being a match. Christian Wood likely isn’t returning to Dallas either, and given how he played against Phoenix this year, perhaps the Suns would be interested in having him take Ayton’s place for a little over half the price. And finally, Tim Hardaway Jr. adds much-needed shooting on a manageable two-year contract.”
“For the Lakers, if 38-year-old LeBron, who has hinted at retirement and could become an unrestricted free agent next summer, wants to finish his illustrious career elsewhere, then you have to just take the best you can get,” Trigg prefaced before saying, “Maybe a package of Paul, Ayton, Maxi Kleber and the Mavs’ 2027 first-round pick isn’t the best L.A. can get, but it’s certainly better than nothing.”
Mavericks Retain Their Young Pieces in Trade Proposal
This trade proposal would see the Mavericks keep their young pieces, Josh Green and Jaden Hardy, who have one and two seasons left on their deals, respectively, in what can only be considered a win in this scenario.
With a franchise-altering talent like James, a trade typically requires a combination of win-now talent, future building blocks, and draft capital.
In Trigg’s proposal, the Mavericks would simply be sign-and-trading a player in Wood who Dallas Basketball’s Michael Mulford would be “surprised” to see in a Mavericks uniform, while also parting with veteran role players like Hardaway and Kleber, who have two and three years left on their deals, respectively.
Just one draft pick is a small price to pay for the league’s all-time leading scorer and a four-time NBA Finals MVP when the only other players being dealt are role players.
‘Unlikely’ LeBron James Trade Can Cost Mavericks in Long-Term
The Smoking Cuban’s Blake Gibbs believes that landing James in a trade could actually end up a negative in the long-term for the Mavericks. Should Dallas find a way to pull off a James trade, Gibbs sees the team losing Doncic from the lack of surrounding talent by the time he’s 25.
“There is almost no conceivable way the Mavs would be able to hang onto Luka entering either his age 25 or 26 seasons with no talent on the roster and no possible way to acquire it,” Gibbs wrote. “There has already been considerable chatter about Doncic leaving with what the Mavs have now.”
CBS Sports’ Jasmyn Wimbish dubs a James-Mavericks union this offseason via trade as “unlikely.”
“Given the hurdles that Dallas would have to clear in order to make this happen, it seems unlikely for now that LeBron ends up on the Mavericks with Irving and Doncic,” Wimbish wrote.