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.

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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!

 

 

The Trailing 3 Podcast has now launched!

By Zack Cunningham

The first episode of The Trailing 3 podcast is now live here and ready for you to listen in!

I’ll be doing these at least once a week moving forward and perhaps more frequently depending on the occasion or situation.

Hope you enjoy and leave your feedback!

Weekly Mavs Roundup (May 5-11)

By Zack Cunningham

Another week down, another week closer to the May 15 NBA Draft Lottery!

It’s been a relatively quiet week on the Mavs front save for a few juicy tidbits.

Potential future Dallas Maverick Mo Bamba was featured in a Ringer piece detailing his extensive work with Pure Sweat trainer Drew Hanlen.

You might’ve seen these videos a few weeks back showing off Bamba’s re-tooled shooting form and also his progress working in the low post. Yes, we know Hanlen is only 5’11 (something he alludes to in the Ringer article), but this progress is encouraging and, as per the article, only the tip of the iceberg in terms of Bamba’s pre-draft workout.

I realize not everyone is going to be as high on Bamba as, say, me or Jeff “Skin” Wade and that’s OK. But I’m putting him in my top 3 of the big board and not moving away from it.

There’s a couple of interesting pieces from dallasbasketball.com and our good friends David Lord and Dalton Trigg.

First, we know Dirk Nowitzki is coming back next year. But the nuts and bolts of that arrangement? It’s a little tricky.

Dirk “technically” has a team option for the 2018-19 season which will likely be declined by the Mavs as they look to be as prudent as possible with their cap space.

But, WHY, would the Mavs decline the option on the face of their franchise? As Lord mentions in the article, Dirk has always been, at least for the last few years as he’s aged, a “take it and see” kind of guy.

Having the option declined means Dallas could potentially sign him using an exception and keep the door open for a possible 2019-20 season … “if Dirk feels like it.”

Check out the link for more information on that as Lord does a much better job going into the details than I can.

The other piece from dallasbasketball.com is one for the Mavs pipe-dreamers out there … and it talks about probably the most natural heir-apparent to Dirk’s throne, Kristaps Porzingis.

While the chances of this something like Trigg mentions happening are next to zero (a point he concedes early on), it’s still worthwhile to understand the how of how something like this might happen.

Porzingis has a torn ACL. The Knicks need out of Joakim Noah’s contract in a bad way.

What’s that you say Dallas? A top-3 pick, Wes Matthews’ expiring deal and some other stuff? Why not make the call?

On a final note, Rick Carlisle isn’t going anywhere. We already covered that on The Trailing 3 earlier in the week if you missed it. Read up if you haven’t!

Oh, only four more days until the lottery!

Will Bucks/Blazers’ loss be Mavs’ gain?

By Zack Cunningham

If you’re sitting at home watching the NBA playoffs, which you very likely are, you’ve noticed that the Milwaukee Bucks are under-achieving (to put it lightly) and the Portland TrailBlazers are two games away from being swept by the 6th-seeded New Orleans Pelicans.

Somehow the Bucks, who employ an all-world freak of nature in Giannis Antetokounmpo, are struggling to look competitive against the depleted-but-still-talented Boston Celtics in their first-round series. People have been saying for the last year that the Bucks are hampered by either incompetent coaching, a lack of a strong supporting cast, or both.

The Bucks recently got Jabari Parker back from his second ACL tear (on the same knee) and he was expected to provide a spark to an otherwise beleaguered Bucks’ offense.

He’s played 25 minutes combined in the first two games of the series. And then there’s this:

Parker has always been renowned for his character so this development is stunning. It’s also understandable, to an extent, that a player hailed by some as the next big thing out of high school might not be happy being the No. 2 (or in the case of the playoffs, the No. 8) option on a playoff team.

However, his production has been terrible. He can’t stay in front of anyone, takes two 3s a game and is a massive injury liability even if he’s currently healthy. There’s also the talk of him desiring a max extension.

How does any of this relate to the Mavericks? Well, if any of the above accolades interest them (it’s clear Parker would be an intriguing piece to replace Dirk Nowitzki at the 4 going forward for Dallas), he will likely be available for less than his desired max salary.

That isn’t to say Parker won’t have plenty of other suitors, but the number of teams with cap space will be severely limited this summer. Chicago could be a player given it’s Parker’s hometown, although a fit with Lauri Markannen would be questionable at best.

Obviously, Dallas would prefer to acquire Parker in some sort of trade instead of using most or all of their precious cap space on an injury-riddled player. It remains to be seen if the Bucks will look to shed salary this offseason should they exit the playoffs early, but the Mavericks are certainly in position to rent out their cap space in the event Milwaukee decides to fork over Parker in some other scenario.

This brings us to Nurkic. His fit in Portland has been strange. While he hasn’t struggled with the same unfortunate injury history as Parker, Portland hasn’t really shown a commitment to him as their long-term solution at center (Zach Collins figures to fit the modern NBA mold better with his range) and Nurkic, to be fair, hasn’t exactly been consistent in his effort.

His restricted free agency is going to be fascinating. Portland has a bloated roster and needs to shed salary no matter what happens this year. Could Dallas be a destination for Nurkic in a similar sense to Milwaukee’s situation with Parker. The big Bosnian is still just 23 years old, a solid rebounder and defender (two boxes the Mavericks sorely need check) and has shown a soft touch.

Given where Dallas will likely be drafting, the Mavericks are going to have some decisions to make, but they will have plenty of options heading into the offseason. It wouldn’t be a shock to see either Nurkic or Parker in Dallas next year. The only question will be the price.