Here we go again: Mavs, Jordan preparing to join forces

By Zack Cunningham

If this all feels eerily familiar, it’s because we’ve been here before.

Some 10 hours removed from the start of NBA free agency, the Dallas Mavericks and Deandre Jordan are ready to unite after an opt-in and trade scenario between Dallas and the Clippers couldn’t be agreed upon Friday, the deadline for players like Jordan to either decline or accept their player options.

Dallas had hopes of shipping swingman Wes Matthews to the Clippers if Jordan opted in for the final year of his $24.1 million contract and working a trade with the now-29 year old big man to bring him to the Mavericks, the team he backed out of a verbal agreement with some three years ago.

The best-case scenario heading into Friday for Dallas was being free and clear of the final year of Wes Matthews’ four-year, $70 million deal and taking in Jordan. The move would’ve left Dallas with nearly $20 million in cap space to pursue one more sizeable free agent acquisition this summer while tending to the Mavericks’ other free agents like Doug McDermott and Seth Curry, to name a few.

But the Clippers, per Marc Stein, wanted more than Dallas was willing to give up in trade, specifically draft compensation. Given the Mavericks already shelled out their 2019 first-round pick on draft night to the Atlanta Hawks to acquire Luka Doncic, it’s understandable Dallas said no. The Mavericks, not needing to trade the farm for Jordan in this scenario, simply opted to pursue the big man one more time in free agency just like they did in 2015.

The trade talks were allegedly halted on Friday and, per The Athletic’s Tim Cato, Dallas informed Matthews himself that he wouldn’t be traded.

(In preparation for clearing the requisite cap space, Dallas declined the team option on the final year of Dirk Nowitzki’s 2-year, $10 million deal. The team plans to circle back to the franchise cornerstone in July to work out a deal.)

This summer, however (and to the relief of Dallas fans), presents a much-different landscape than three years ago. Jordan is nearly 30 (not old, but not 26 either) and the market for NBA centers has almost completely dried up.

Dallas is the only team with eyes for Jordan (aside from the Warriors who, even with their MLE of $5 million, might be enough to elicit a sideways glance from the Houston native) and their appears to be significant mutual interest between the player and the team. The word is Jordan wants to be in Dallas and, per Mike Fisher at DallasBasketball.com, the two sides have long since hashed-out their differences since three years ago.

It can be argued that he wanted to be a Maverick three years ago, however, but the Clippers don’t have Chris Paul or Blake Griffin (they do still have Doc Rivers at the helm, though) banging on Jordan’s door this time. While the unease and even skepticism on the part of Mavericks’ fans may be understandable, the reality is that there’s very little reason for Jordan to bolt back to Lob City as the Clippers recently traded Austin Rivers for Marcin Gortat and are reportedly very high on Montezl Harrell. Jordan no longer fits the Clippers’ plans.

Jordan said as recently as this season pondered aloud whether the Clippers wanted him. Dallas has made him their No. 1 priority. That should settle that.

The main question going forward will be how much the Mavericks decide to pay Jordan. The point can be made that even though he did just leave $24M on the table that he would take less for a longer-term deal, but Dallas needs to be careful here. They don’t need to bid against themselves, but they also shouldn’t hold Jordan over a barrel, either. A deal starting in the 3-year, $60 million range will probably be doable for both sides.

While things figure to end differently this time around, July 6 (when players can put pen to paper on new free agency deals) cannot get here fast enough for Dallas.

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TT3 Podcast Episode 6: Breaking down the Deandre Jordan situation with Jeff Siegel

By Zack Cunningham

Tonight, on the Episode 6 of the Trailing 3 Podcast, Jeff Siegel helps us break down the rapidly-developing situation between the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers for center Deandre Jordan. Yes, THAT Deandre Jordan. This apparently is happening.

If you were confused about how this might go down, don’t worry. There are lots of moving parts to this situation and Jeff is a cap guru! Check out the latest episode here!

(Sorry for not embedding … working through some issues with Anchor/SoundCloud).

Episode 5 TT3 Podcast – Mavs, Memphis nearing deal?

By Zack Cunningham

In today’s episode the TT3 Podcast, we’re diving deep into the Memphis/Dallas rumors centered on the No. 4 Pick and Chandler Parsons’ massive deal.

Also, is the deal really worth it for Dallas if Doncic is gone by No. 4? And, if Doncic IS there at No.4, does Memphis still consider trading out? It’s a weird situation for the Mavs, but we’ll take a gander at trying to understand what Dallas’ options are in the next day-and-a-half.

Enjoy!

Mavs Draft Roundup

By Zack Cunningham

We’re three days away from the 2018 NBA Draft and, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the NBA rumor mill is running at 100%.

Kawhi Leonard’s feelings on the Spurs are now public which has temporarily provided NBA Twitter with something besides the mystery of Michael Porter Jr. to dwell on … and also given new life to the LeBron-to-LA narrative.

However, quietly in the background … the Dallas Mavericks have worked out Mo Bamba, Wendell Carter Jr., Jaren Jackson Jr. and attended two of Porter Jr.’s workouts. In case you’ve been living under a slightly bigger rock, the Mavericks are slotted to pick at No. 5.

Also, this video surfaced late Sunday/early Monday of Bamba again draining deep 3s … but this time in Dallas shorts?

The case for Ayton going No. 1 to Phoenix seems to be mostly closed at this point, but from No. 2 down is anyone’s guess. The Kings have been linked to Porter Jr. and Marvin Bagley as well as Luka Doncic, who seems to have somehow slid even further down some of the more reputable NBA mock drafts (and potentially within reach to Dallas at No. 5?)

At this point, as the saying goes, it’s all a crap-shoot. You can argue that Dallas’ needs are most met by Jackson Jr. or Bamba as they fill the need the Mavs have for a defensive anchor with the potential of a 3-point threat or you can argue that Dallas needs more of an offensive infusion, a hole that players like Marvin Bagley III and Porter Jr. are more apt to fill.

There’s been a lot of talk that Jackson Jr. would be the pick for the Hawks at No. 3, but per Sporting News’ Sean Deveney, the Hawks have “ruled out” Jackson at the No. 3 spot which could leave Dallas with a tough decision two spots later.

Rumors of Memphis looking to package Chandler Parson’s albatross deal along with the No. 4 pick has some fans dreaming of Dallas owning BOTH of the Nos. 4 and 5 picks … but the Grizzlies would likely not entertain a deal that didn’t include Harrison Barnes in return, a condition Dallas is unlikely to acquiesce to (per Mike Fisher).

Could Dallas make the deal work without adding Barnes? Does Memphis hang up the phone right away? People in the know I’ve talked to say Dallas shouldn’t have to part with one of its foundation pieces to grab the No. 4 pick, and opinions on the issue range widely. Is Barnes a great player? Sure. Is he great enough for the Mavs to keep instead of closing a deal for another top-5 lottery pick? That’s debatable.

At this point in the offseason, what could be viewed as interest from a team towards a prospect could just as easily be a smokescreen put out to offset other team’s interest and to discourage clubs in front of the franchise in the drafting order from passing up on said prospect. My feeling is that there’s a lot of this surrounding Porter Jr.

Take this for example. Dallas is reportedly “comfortable” with the health risks surrounding Porter Jr. There are many layers to peel back here.

Are the Mavericks publicly expressing their trust and assurance in veteran trainer Casey Smith and his staff to be able to effectively maintain Porter Jr. should Dallas draft him? Sure. But is that the point?

Just because a team is comfortable with the risks of taking a player doesn’t mean that player is their guy. I feel there’s a lot of gamesmanship at work here, not just on the part of the Mavericks, but a lot of teams surrounding the orbit of Porter Jr. Suffice it to say, it will be fascinating to see what happens on Thursday night.

 

Episode 4 of the Trailing 3 Podcast w/Jimmy Crowther!

By Zack Cunningham

In this week’s episode of the TT3 Podcast, I bring on Jimmy Crowther of All Things Mavs and the Dallas Sports Fanatic!

We talked about the Mavs’ draft possibilities and also the bigs Dallas has been working out lately including Mo Bamba and Wendell Carter Jr. (Wednesday).

Give it a listen!

Mavs working out Bamba, Carter Jr. next week

By Zack Cunningham

As the NBA Finals draws to a close (that is, if Golden State finishes off a sweep tonight), we’re seeing more and more lottery and non-lottery teams becoming associated via pre-draft workouts with some of the biggest names of the 2018 NBA draft.

On Friday, the Dallas Mavericks were linked to Mo Wagner and were also present at Michael Carter Jr.’s private workout in Chicago. That workout (with Donnie Nelson present per Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com) was supposedly “extremely impressive” according to all Dallas staffers in attendance. Additionally, the Mavericks apparently view Porter Jr., who has been mocked anywhere from No. 3 to No. 15 depending on where you look, as a “top-3 pick if healthy.” You can read more from Fisher’s report here.

Also, the Mavericks are preparing to work out Wendell Carter Jr. next Wednesday. Fisher also reported on this last week (here), but the date was made official today.

Also, per Sports Illustrated’s Jake Fischer, Mo Bamba will work out for Dallas on Monday.

While the Mavericks haven’t been tied to very many big names at all as far as pre-draft workouts are concerned to this point, it appears they will definitely have some big names starting next week with possibly more to come in the days after.

Just a reminder, the Draft is 13 days away. Dallas also holds the No. 33 and No. 54 pick.

Stay tuned to The Trailing 3 for more draft updates!

Episode 3 of the TT3 Podcast with special guest, Nick Neppach!

By Zack Cunningham

For episode 3 of The Trailing 3 podcast, I talked with 105.3 The Fan’s Nick Neppach about the draft and more! Apologies for the bad audio quality … apparently I can’t tell the back of a mic from the front.

(Try to) enjoy!

ALERT: The Trailing 3 Podcast Episode 2 is now live!

By Zack Cunningham

Hey Mavs fans!

Check out Episode 2 of the TT3 Podcast! We touched on yesterday’s Mavs/Celtics/Grizzlies trade rumors and more!

I’m trying to keep these consistent to once a week … so thanks for your patience if there’s been any slight deviation!

Deveney: Mavs, Grizz “willing to deal” with Boston for Bamba?

By Zack Cunningham

In this seemingly never-ending pre-draft period, we hear almost every day about how certain teams either like or don’t like highly-touted prospects. Teams like the Phoenix Suns are giving off all sorts of signals as to what they prefer to do with their pick and who they would prefer to take if they kept the No. 1 overall selection.

The Boston Celtics are now providing their share of intrigue now that their season is over. Sporting News’ Sean Deveney revealed on Wednesday that the Celtics are high on Mo Bamba and speculated that the young center could round out Boston’s roster with his defensive presence.

Obviously, in order to do that Boston would need to move up in the draft from their current No. 27 perch and likely into the top five. Enter Dallas and Memphis, both teams who are “ready and willing to deal” with the Celtics, per Deveney:

The Celtics have the No. 27 pick, but they have multiple assets on hand that could help them move into the top five of the draft, where the Grizzlies (No. 4) and Mavericks (No. 5) have made it clear they’re willing to make a deal.

The predictions on Bamba range anywhere from Nos. 3 – 6. Deveney also mentions that Orlando is high on the Texas product and would likely not let him fall past the Magic’s No. 6 slot should he make it to them at all:

He could go as high as No. 3 to the Hawks, and there has also been talk that the Magic — picking sixth — are high on Bamba and won’t let him drop past their slot.

Dallas owner Mark Cuban has said on the record that the Mavericks aren’t set on keeping the No. 5 pick, the franchise’s highest selection in 20 years. This jives with Deveney’s report that the Mavs could be willing to deal the pick for picks and talent from the Celtics.

What would the Celtics have to give up for a chance to draft Bamba? Bear in mind, these possibilities apply to both Dallas and Memphis in this situation and might even favor the Grizzlies since they are currently slated to pick one spot ahead of Dallas.

Deveney starts by saying Boston would, at the very least, need to give up this year’s pick (No. 27 as mentioned earlier) likely along with either Terry Rozier or Jaylen Brown:

In order to move into the top five of the draft, the Celtics would likely have to give up either Rozier or Brown — Dallas (Dennis Smith Jr.) and Memphis (Mike Conley) already have point guards, and would almost certainly prefer Brown.

 

And Boston probably would have to include this year’s draft pick, as well as at least one pick next year, when the Celtics own Sacramento’s pick (protected for the first overall pick) as well as Memphis’ pick (top-eight protected).

Since this site is primarily Dallas-focused, let’s examine this potential haul for this year’s No. 5 pick. The Mavericks have no need for Rozier, so they would likely make Brown a non-negotiable point in any deal. Combine that with this year’s first and either Sacramento’s or Memphis’ pick next year and Dallas could have a potential stud in Brown along with another top-10 pick next year, albeit in a weaker draft.

There is also the question of Gordon Hayward as he is set to return from injury next year and he and Brown play the same position. Does that make Brown expendable?

Also, if Bamba is perceived as Boston’s center of the future, where does that leave Al Horford and his big contract?

I want to emphasize that this scenario is purely speculative and Deveney clarifies that in his piece. All things considered it’s just another option the Mavericks possibly have to improve and build their core before the June 21 draft.

Mavs recap: Whiteside to Dallas rumors?

By Zack Cunningham

As the NBA Finals draw ever closer and two more teams start planning summer vacations, speculation about trades, roster adjustments and draft prospects is also increasing.

Case in point, the Dallas Mavericks and Hassan Whiteside. Two years ago, Dallas wasn’t shy about its pursuit of the then-27 year old Miami Heat center and what he could potentially bring to a franchise that’s been starved for a defensive anchor in the middle since Tyson Chandler roamed the lane in the 2011 championship season.

Could Dallas be interested in making a trade for the now-disgruntled-and-handsomely-paid Whiteside who now is, like, really unhappy in Miami?

Dallasbasketball.com’s Mike Fisher and Dalton Trigg have been all over this in the last few days and if you haven’t checked out their pieces, do so here and here.

Before I get into this, I want to make sure we’re clear on something: saying a team is open to a possibility doesn’t mean there’s an active pursuit. For example, I’m “open” to buying one of Mark Cuban’s mansions if the price is right (read: $200 or so would do the trick). Doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.

Conditions would need to be met. A lot of pieces would need to fall into place.

Such is the case in Fisher/Trigg’s piece with Whiteside as “sweeteners” are explicitly mentioned as things that would need to be included for Dallas to be interested in trading away someone like Wes Matthews for Miami’s big man. Again, that’s not something that’s in motion at this time, just a possibility. And a possibility with conditions attached.

There are three main takeaways I gather from these two great, informational pieces. They are as follows:

  • Whiteside is certainly not Dallas’ “plan A” when it comes to finding a center.
  • Dallas’ draft selection will play a HUGE role in determining who will be the target of their other pursuits (trades, free agency, etc.)
  • Per Fisher, the Mavs are “aiming higher” than solutions like Randle and Whiteside in the middle (and supposedly “higher” than names like Jabari Parker)

See these quotes for yourself:

The Mavs will also look at other vet candidates for the job, and Whiteside ranks below many of them.

And this:

I’ll repeat here for the record, an example: Julius Randle might end up being a Dallas target, but I’m told the Mavs are aiming “much higher” than that.

It’s easy to read these tweets and headlines and immediately think, “Pfft. Dallas isn’t doing this.” That’s not what these articles are saying. They are merely detailing the how’s and why’s of what would need to happen IF the Mavericks were to entertain such a venture.

We had another round of Demarcus Cousins-to-Dallas info rehashed to us by the Ringer last week, intel that Fisher and Trigg contend is being “badminton’d” back to the Dallas fan base as if it were breaking news.

They also have the intel on that in two pieces penned by Trigg here and here.

With the draft less than a month away, there’s still plenty of speculation as to whether Dallas will opt to address its offensive needs (they ranked near the bottom of the league in points scored last year) with a risky prospect like Michael Porter, or if they’ll take their center of the future in Bamba (of note, Dallas ranked 18th in defensive rating last year).

Stay tuned to thetrailing3.com for Episode 2 of The Trailing 3 Podcast later this week and check out Episode 1 if you haven’t already! Thanks for reading!