The Dallas Mavericks have been in some headlines the last week or so. They have picked up their performance on the court, pushing over the .500 mark and getting right back into the thick of things in the Western Conference playoff picture. Also, they have made headlines for the NBA trade rumors surrounding the team.
Through the NBA grapevine, it sounds as if the Mavericks are shopping Kristaps Porzingis. They acquired him only two years ago, but they already seem to be souring on him. Mark Cuban has tried to quell the rumors, but insiders have been persistent in reporting that Dallas is shopping the former All-Star.
The point in moving Porzingis would be to add players the organization believes is a better fit alongside Luka Doncic. This proposed trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves would give him a new running mate in the backcourt while keeping Kristaps Poringis in the fold.
In this deal, the Mavericks would land D’Angelo Russell and Jarred Vanderbilt while they would send Tim Hardaway Jr., Jalen Brunson, James Johnson and a 2025 first-round pick to Minnesota.
If a trade between the two teams centered around Russell is even discussed, it would be a waiving of the white flag moment for Minnesota. A complete teardown probably wouldn’t be far behind, as Karl-Anthony Towns would almost assuredly ask for a trade if the player he pined to play with, in Russell, is shipped out.
For Dallas, this would be the team looking to upgrade around their duo. Hardaway Jr. and Johnson are both free agents, so they are banking on Russell being a better fit long-term in the backcourt than Hardaway Jr. That is a pretty big gamble, as Hardaway Jr. and Brunson have both played well this season. They would also be getting some frontcourt insurance in case Porzingis misses more time.
Russell would give the Mavericks a bonafide third option that has the skill set to play off-ball in an offense that Luka Doncic leads. He is a strong 3-point shooter and would give the team an option of someone who can carry the offense whenever Doncic needs a rest.
The biggest question, for Dallas, is if they can afford to have another player that leaves something to be desired defensively. Dallas’ defensive rating has gotten worse for a sixth consecutive season and D’Angelo Russell is likely to not help improve that.
If Minnesota is looking to clean house, this gives them a cleaner salary cap situation moving forward and a future asset. Dallas’ first-round picks are tied up with the Knicks from the Porzingis trade, so that is why the offered pick is so far in the future. Salary cap space for an undesirable destination and one future pick is probably not enough to land a 25-year old former All-Star.