3 Trades Dallas Could Make After Acquiring Wood
In case you missed it, the NBA trade season officially kicked off Wednesday evening when the Dallas Mavericks orchestrated a trade with the Houston Rockets to acquire big man Christian Wood. The compensation included the 26th overall pick in next week’s draft and several bench players with expiring contracts. Safe to say, the Mavericks fleeced their Texas counterparts.
Regardless, the trade went through and we move forward as the spotlight shifts to the president of basketball operations, Nico Harrison, and the Mavs’ front office for the remainder of the offseason. Nabbing a three-point shooting big man in Wood was the No.1 priority for Dallas, leaving them six days before the draft with one need already fulfilled.
But they’re not done yet, because the next move they make this offseason (and there will be another), is going to shake up the NBA landscape.
Here are three trades the Mavericks should pursue if they want to take that next step into the NBA Finals.
Trade #1: New York Knicks
Knicks Get: Jalen Brunson; Mavericks Get: Julius Randle
Who says no? The more you think about, the more it makes sense. This is a trade that works out for both sides because as good as Jalen Brunson was for the Dallas Mavericks in the Utah Jazz series this past season, Julius Randle at his best was a borderline All-NBA player. Meanwhile Brunson hasn’t even made an all-star team yet, capping his potential ceiling.
Randle presents as a very ball-dominant power forward, but also a very good playmaking power forwards well. Averaging 24.1 PPG, 10.2 RPG and 6.0 RPG in the 2020 season, Randle takes the pressure off Luka Dončić to be the sole provider and creator in the offense, making him a worthy sidekick. Imagine more of a combo perimeter and post heliocentric offense that is interchangeable with Randle and Luka finding passing lanes and back cuts all game long. They can also switch easily given Dončić’s size and strength on the block.
The Knicks power forward is currently on four-year, $117 million deal, making $23 million. The figure is necessary here because Brunson’s new contract will have to be around the same number in a sign-and-trade scenario. The teams can also play around with second round picks if they chose to do so, but this should get them on the dance floor.
Yes Randle struggled from three last season, shooting 30.8% from deep, but the potential here is very exciting. The move provides more help to Luka by adding another playmaker that can get a bucket in his prime (only 28). The Dallas native in Randle just needs better structure and management to thrive, something he isn’t getting in New York. By returning to his roots, he not only gets to be closer to his family but he also joins a Mavs culture that has shown promising signs top build a contender. He has to buy in or it won’t work.
It may be an odd pairing, but the creative possibilities with these two on the court together excite me.
Trade #2: Washington Wizards
Wizards Get: Brunson, Tim Hardaway Jr., Josh Green, 2025 1st Round Pick, 2028 1st Round Pick (Top-10 Protected); Mavericks Get: Bradley Beal, Ish Smith
A blockbuster move for Dallas but this trade makes a lot of sense for both sides as Dallas has lacked a true superstar that attracts other big names to the roster. If Bradley Beal is serious about wanting to win (his recent comments with Taylor Rooks suggests that), he’ll consider Dallas as as an option via sign-and-trade.
Additionally, this trade saves Washington from itself. Paying Beal the Supermax in the range of five year, $246 million gives off serious flashbacks to signing John Wall to the Supermax in 2017, and we all know how terribly that went. Furthermore, the Wizards would also get quality players in return, highlighted by Brunson’s potential leading an offense, as well as two first round picks to help with the rebuilding process. Giving Smith to the Mavericks is just to make the numbers line up but also provides Dallas with another playmaking point to backup Luka.
Putting some of his financial priorities aside, Beal could still make $184 million over four years if he pursues a way out of Washington, getting him nice payday and a much better opportunity to win if he chooses Dallas as his destination. Beal would be the perfect Robin to Luka’s Batman, able to get a bucket at will and create elite level separation that Dončić has never played with before. The Wizards guard would also be able to take the load off of Dalla’s young superstar in terms of playmaking, having spent the last few years leading the charge in Washington.
Like Randle, Beal’s production last season dipped compared to 2020 due to injury, being shut down for the year after undergoing wrist surgery in February. Entering age 29, the former All-NBA guard should be looking to win now and a tandem with Luka would make up one of the most exciting backcourts in the league, and possibly bring out the best in Beal culture-wise.
It may just be an idea now, but don’t be surprised if Harrison swings for the fences this offseason to start the contention period with Dončić early.
Trade #3: Chicago Bulls
Bulls Get: Dwight Powell, Hardaway Jr., Green, 2025 1st Round Pick, 2028 1st Round Pick (Top-10 Protected), 2029 1st Round Pick (Top-10 Protected); Mavericks Get: Zach LaVine, Derrick Jones Jr.
Another sign-and-trade but this one seems the most unlikely out of the three after reports surfaced this week that Lavine was likely to stay in Chicago. For that alone, I won’t go into too much detail like the previous two choices. However, if the opportunity arises to acquire LaVine, Dallas should be the first person on the phone with the Bull’s front office.
LaVine, 27, presents as another worthy sidekick to Dončić, more suitable to the young superstar’s timeline than Beal. The former UCLA Bruin thrived as the 1B to DeMar DeRozan’s 1A last season, answering GM’s biggest question if LaVine could support other superstars on the court together. Pairing him with Luka would take his game to a whole other level, creating separation and spacing he hasn’t seen much since entering the league. No disrespect to DeRozan but Luka is a better offensive player than he is right now, and Dončić is still ascending at 23-years-old.
Shooting 41.9 and 38.9% from deep the last two seasons, LaVine is an elite level three-point shooter and a superior athlete that goes perfectly with Luka’s ability to make magical passes to open teammates. He can also run the floor when Dončić needs a breather, spending the 2020 season as the No.1 option on the Bulls before DeMar got there. Imagine the passing lanes and back cuts between these two, especially with Wood roaming between the paint area and three-point line. It would be such a dynamic offense.
A four-year deal would lock LaVine in for the remainder of his prime in Dallas, again creating an electrifying backcourt pairing with Dončić. The possibility of LaVine leaving seems ever more unlikely as the days progress, especially because the Bulls acquired DeRozan only a season ago. Nevertheless, if LaVine becomes available at the start of free agency, the Mavericks should give them a call.