Trade season is upon us, and the Dallas Mavericks, though reportedly not looking to ship out Dorian Finney-Smith and Jalen Brunson, harbor a convenient trading tool if the right opportunity presents itself.
Despite Josh Richardson’s underwhelming 2020-2021 campaign, the Dallas front office salvaged the exception deal, at least as much as it could, by acquiring a traded player (TPE) from the Boston Celtics worth $10.9 million.
Although not as thrilling as other potential trade options, combining the TPE and a draft pick from 2027 (CBA rules due to the protections on the Mavs’ 2023 first round pick now owned by the Knicks) and beyond provides Dallas’ front office with a chance to obtain Luka Doncic some help on the margins.
DallasBasketball.com examines five trade targets for the Mavericks using the TPE as the main collateral.
Richaun Holmes, C, Kings
Historically, the term “the one that got away” seems to be the Mavs’ story in free agency. The Sacramento Kings retained Richaun Holmes in free agency last summer despite the Mavs having interest in him, making this potential trade a bit ironic.
Nonetheless, Dallas might be in a spot to acquire a piece like Holmes for a reasonable price. Holmes would be a great complementary player for most teams, and he’s on a team-friendly contract to boot. However, the De’Aaron Fox-Tyrese Haliburton core isn’t getting the most out of the energetic center, and Sacramento could be ready to make big changes.
Considering the Kings’ current spot in the Western Conference standings, perhaps they’ll look to shed Holmes’ salary for future draft compensation. Being four losses behind the final play-in tournament spot, the Kings are likely to see their 16th consecutive lottery appearance, which would break the NBA record.
Combining the $10,865,952 TPE and the Mavs 2027 first-round draft pick would be the idea behind it his particular move.
Jeremy Lamb, G/F, Pacers
Although the Pacers have plenty of intriguing pieces to offer in trades, including big man Myles Turner, Dallas has reiterated its disinterest in doing a trade of that nature unless it comes at a discounted price. With that said, though, even without including Brunson and Finney-Smith in the deal, the Mavs’ still have a shot at adding a rotation player that could help Dallas hit more three-balls.
Theoretically, Jeremy Lamb is a good shooter. He’s only shooting 34 percent from deep this season, but he shot 41 percent last season. Amid their worst season in quite some time, the Pacers probably don’t have the best personnel to fit Lamb’s skillset, but the Mavs might.
Pairing the TPE and the Mavs’ 2024 second-round draft pick for Lamb makes sense for both teams. The Pacers gain draft capital for a player that they likely won’t re-sign in free agency, and the Mavs don’t lose leverage in future trades.
Kemba Walker, G, Knicks
On Tuesday, DallasBasketball.com’s own Dalton Trigg proposed that the Mavs might want to pursue New York Knicks’ guard Kemba Walker utilizing the TPE. Walker has shown a few flashes this season, like when he posted a triple-double on Christmas Day, but overall, he just hasn’t been able to find his groove in New York.
Only one loss out of the play-in tournament, trading Walker for a second-round pick won’t stress the Knicks in the short or long. Considering Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau’s stance on Walker, trading the defensive liability seems like a likely move for the Knicks.
Considering that Dallas needs another playmaker outside of Doncic and Brunson, adding Walker would alleviate the stress on the aforementioned players, especially if he’s used correctly. The fact that Walker is shooting nearly 38 percent from deep this season is reason alone for the Mavs to be interested.
Justin Holiday, G, Pacers
The Pacers have yet another player on our list in Justin Holiday. What can we say? Indiana is apparently a treasure chest of trade possibilities. Unlike Lamb, though, Holiday is shooting better from distance and is the better defender.
Place Holiday on the Mavs, and he’d undoubtedly crack Jason Kidd’s rotation. However, at age 32, the Mavs must proceed with caution in not giving up too much for a player that might be on the verge of decline.
Nonetheless, the Mavs’ TPE and a second-round draft pick or two could make sense for both teams in this scenario.
Larry Nance Jr., F/C, Trail Blazers
Once upon a time, the Portland Trail Blazers were buyers in trade talks. However, here in the present day, the Damian Lillard-led franchise now falls on the other side of the trade spectrum as sellers.
Leading just two games on the Zion Willamson-less New Orleans Pelicans, the Blazers are barely clinging to a spot in the NBA’s play-in tournament. With luxury tax implications looming and appearing to have a bleak immediate future, perhaps it’s time for Portland to shift its focus towards gaining draft assets.
Jason Kidd utilizing Nance Jr. As a roll-man for Luka Doncic and Brunson would bode well for the Mavs offense, which could use a good boost to match the team’s much-improved defense. Think of Dwight Powell, but with even better finishing, and that’s what Nance Jr. provides.
Portland would probably receive multiple second-round picks or maybe even a heavily-protected first-round pick in return.