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.

 

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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!

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!

 

 

Mavs slip to the No. 5 spot in NBA Draft Lottery

By Zack Cunningham

The Dallas Mavericks’ dreams of a potential top-3 draft pick in the upcoming June 21 NBA Draft were snuffed out on Tuesday night, but Dallas will still pick at the No. 5 spot after being jumped in the order by the Sacramento Kings (No. 2) and the Atlanta Hawks (No. 3).

In a cruel twist of irony, despite winning the end-of-season tiebreaker with the Hawks for the third-best odds heading into Tuesday’s drawing, Atlanta still managed to get the better of the ping pong balls and moved ahead of the Mavericks who, just minutes earlier, saw the Kinds move up as well.

It’s the second year in a row Sacramento has had good luck with the lottery.

Coming into Tuesday, the Mavericks had a 13.8% chance at the No. 1 spot and a 43.8% chance of landing in the top three positions. Their highest positional odds were at the No. 5 slot.

While seeing a potential top-3 selection fade away is frustrating, Mavs’ fans still have plenty to be excited about at which names could be available when Dallas’ name is called.

Deandre Ayton and Luka Doncic are the near-consensus top 2 picks in plenty of mock drafts. After that is where the choices vary.

Marvin Bagley figures to be the likely choice for Atlanta, a team with needs basically everywhere. The Hawks could also just as feasibly go with Jaren Jackson Jr. to fill their big man need if they think he’d be a good fit with John Collins.

Memphis figures to be a prime Bagley fit if the Hawks decide to pass. I don’t think Mo Bamba or Jackson quite mesh with Memphis’ plans if they decide to retain Marc Gasol for the remainder of his deal. If he’s somehow dealt in between now and the draft then, obviously, that changes.

Then you have Dallas. The Mavericks are very likely looking at the option to pick Michael Porter Jr. or whomever is left between Jackson and Bamba. Opinions on Bamba might be the most widely-varied of any potential draft prospect out there.

Don’t count 105.3 The Fan’s Jeff “Skin” Wade among those.

I can see arguments for both Jackson and Bamba as fits for the Mavericks defensively and while Jackson may be seen as a “safer” fit due to his higher projected floor, Bamba’s upside has the potential to be higher.

That being said, I want to re-iterate that these projections are just that, projections. For the Mavericks to be faced with a choice between a potential Dirk Nowitzki replacement in Porter or a franchise-changing center in Bamba is a good situation to be in.

On to the combine!