The Clippers eliminated the Mavericks with a Game 6 victory on Sunday, concluding a competitive series that featured a Luka Doncic buzzer-beater in Game 4 and an overall stellar performance from the sophomore superstar.
Kristaps Porzingis’ knee injury significantly diminished Dallas’ chance at upsetting L.A., but it’s clear the team as a whole needs more physicality and another playmaker to take some of the offensive burdens off of Doncic.
Now that they know Doncic is a player capable of leading a contending team, the Mavericks will surely look to make a move this offseason that helps them win sooner than later. Here are five players the team could realistically bring in to improve Dallas’ title-odds next season.
5. Derrick Rose
Rose will make around $7.5 million next season before he enters free agency next summer, and because the Pistons are rebuilding and not in need of an aging score-first guard on an expiring contract, it’s realistic that Detroit deals him.
The 31-year-old former MVP has averaged about 18 points per game over the last two seasons. Dallas desperately needs another ball-handling playmaker alongside Doncic to make the offense both less predictable and more potent. Rose’s trade value isn’t too high, but many other teams around the league are also looking to vault into contender-status, so the Mavericks may have to out-bid other suitors for the Detroit guard.
A trade package consisting of a combination of Justin Jackson, Jalen Brunson, Delon Wright and maybe a second-round pick or two should be enough for Dallas to acquire Rose.
4. Kevin Love
Love has unfortunately been in the NBA’s version of “no man’s land” over the past two seasons. He played just 22 games in 2018-2019 and the Cavaliers won just 19 games this season, so Love hasn’t exactly been relevant in the league as of late.
The nearly 32-year-old power forward is also on one of the least team-friendly contracts in the NBA. He’s owed $91.5 million over the next three seasons and hasn’t made an All-Star team since 2018, and although Cleveland can afford to keep paying him for now, the team likely wants to move him for future assets.
Love would fit extremely well in Dallas’ five-out offensive style. He’s a talented shooter, rebounder and a solid team-defender who brings championship experience to a locker room devoid of extensive playoff success. Love can help show the Mavericks what it takes to win a title while knocking down shots courtesy of Doncic dimes. Dallas also has the cap space to take his contract.
The Mavericks could trade a combination of Dwight Powell, Justin Jackson, Jalen Brunson, Delon Wright and maybe their 2020 first-round pick for Love.
3. Bradley Beal
Many people feel Beal’s supreme talents are being squandered on a Wizards team with no clear direction, so naturally, his name is often included in potential trades for this offseason. It’s unclear as of now if Washington would deal Beal, which is why he isn’t higher on this list despite being the best player mentioned.
It’d take a hefty trade package to pry Beal away from the Wizards, but if he is indeed available, Dallas should go all-in to get him. His elite-level scoring and shooting abilities fit well in the Maverick’s high-paced, 3-point heavy offense, and he and Doncic would form one of the best guard tandems in the league. Just imagine Beal in a pick-and-roll with Porzingis with Doncic and two other shooters to kick-out to; the offense would be lethal.
Dallas can offer a combination of Tim Hardaway Jr., Seth Curry, Dorien Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell, Justin Jackson, Jalen Brunson, Delon Wright and two or three future first-round picks for Beal. Parting with three first-round picks helps the Mavericks keep more of their core players, whom they’ll need to contend as soon as possible.
2. Rudy Gobert
Gobert’s playoff performance thus far has, for now, dispelled the notion that he doesn’t fit in Utah and could be traded after this season. He seems to have healed his relationship with Donovan Mitchell and is giving Nikola Jokic all he can handle in this first-round series.
If the Jazz decide they want to move in a more offensively-oriented direction as a team, though, Gobert would likely be dealt since he is a free agent after next season. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year would certainly garner high-value on the trade market for teams, like the Mavericks, in need of an interior presence.
It was obvious in the team’s series with the Clippers that Dallas needs a paint protector. Porzingis is a good rim protector but isn’t very versatile on defense, and he’s also not as strong a rebounder as you’d like him to be (although he’s improving). Adding Gobert not only gives Doncic another pick-and-roll partner but allows Porzingis to focus more on his perimeter game, which is where he seems most comfortable. The team’s rim protection with both bigs would also be a newfound strength. The only issue is that the team would likely suffer a bit offensively since they couldn’t play five-out, but sacrificing a little scoring versatility for a more balanced overall approach isn’t a bad thing.
Dallas would likely have to trade a combination of Tim Hardaway Jr., Seth Curry, Dorien Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell, Justin Jackson, Jalen Brunson, Delon Wright and two future first-round picks for Gobert. His price isn’t as high as Beal’s, so if Dallas can retain most of their formidable bench players, this team would be a scary sight for fellow Western Conference teams.
1. C.J. McCollum
Portland may want to run it back next season with a healthier version of its current roster, but the narrative that the team’s current construction can’t win at the highest level grows every season. McCollum is a gifted scorer and playmaker who does a lot of the same things Damian Lillard does, so it’s reasonable to think he’d be traded so the team can acquire more complementary pieces.
McCollum’s elite shooting and ball-handling fit perfectly in Dallas’ offense. He’s a better version of Seth Curry but with more consistency and better isolation skills. He’d take the pressure off of Doncic, work well with Porzingis in pick-and-roll situations and hit spot-up triples. McCollum is also signed through 2024, making him an ideal long-term acquisition if the Mavericks feel he’s the right fit.
The Mavericks likely have to trade a combination of Tim Hardaway Jr., Seth Curry, Dorien Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, Justin Jackson, Jalen Brunson, Delon Wright and a first-round pick or two for McCollum. His price is high but not as high as some others on this list since he isn’t as versatile.
His sub-par defense is an issue, but if Dallas wants to double-down on its offensively-focused style, McCollum would take the team to another level.