By: Josh Clark
DALLAS (105.3 The Fan) – Shortly after the all-stars put on an offensive onslaught in New Orleans on Sunday night, the best center in the NBA was traded in a bizarre move.
Days after publicly stating that DeMarcus Cousins wouldn’t be moved, General Manager Vlade Divac gift-wrapped the big man to New Orleans for a return that shouldn’t come close to getting a top 10 player in the NBA.
Sacramento sent Cousins and forward Omri Caspi to the Pelicans for guards Langston Galloway, Tyreke Evans and Buddy Hield, as well as their 2017 first and second round picks.
On paper and on the court, New Orleans fleeced the Kings in this deal. While you can’t fault Sacramento for wanting to be rid of Cousins, they should have gotten more value in return for his services.
Which brings us to the Mavericks.
Dallas has been flirting with the #8 seed for a couple weeks now. After starting off 4-17, Dallas has gone 18-17 over their last 35 games to get within three games of the final playoff spot out west.
However, with Cousins on his way to New Orleans, and Denver already three games up, it’s time for Dallas to ship off some valuable assets to teams in the playoff hunt.
Might center Andrew Bogut look good in a Boston Celtics uniform? Could someone have a need for another veteran guard in Deron Williams or Devin Harris? Without question.
Here are a few ideas on how Dallas can move on from these three players while giving the same guys that have helped lead their recent charge more playing time.
Potential fits: Boston, Golden State, Cleveland, Utah
The best fit here is Boston. They have a need in the middle and Bogut can provide a much needed defensive presence in front of or behind Kelly Olynyk. Dallas could take back a Tyler Zeller to make the salaries match up. While Zeller has another year on his contract for $8 million, it’s a team option, so Dallas can simply walk away from him after the season. Boston won’t be sending Dallas their potential number one pick in this year’s draft they received from the Brooklyn Nets. Boston does, however, get Minnesota’s second round pick in this year’s draft. With this being called one of the deeper drafts we’ve seen in quite some time, a pick in the 30’s could net Dallas a rotation player. The Celtics also own a plethora of other picks over the course of the next four seasons that can be used in trades.
Another great fit suddenly is with Golden State. The Warriors already have problems containing some of the better big men in the league. Might they want a reunion with Bogut after seeing their potential foe in the first round get bigger up front? The Warriors don’t own their first round pick in 2017. So the best Dallas could get is a late first rounder in 2018.
Deron Williams & Devin Harris
Potential fits: Cleveland, Utah, Minnesota (Deron Won’t Accept A Trade Here)
The problem for Dallas with a trade involving Williams is that he can veto any move. Williams is from the area and his family lives here, making a deal rather murky. Cleveland is an obvious fit, but they don’t have anything Dallas would want in return… most notably an expiring contract to match up salaries so that they can consummate a deal. The best solution is to get involved in a three-way deal that nets Cleveland the Mavs starting point guard and Dallas with the Cavaliers first-round pick in 2018 (2017 pick to Portland).
If they can’t make a Williams trade work, Cleveland could take the route of Devin Harris, a cheaper option, by using their over $5 Million combined trade exceptions to absorb Devin’s contract. The Cavs could send Dallas their 2018 first-round pick in this deal as well. Complicating the matter is the fact that Cleveland has until Monday, February 20 to use the exceptions.
Another possible fit is in Utah. Yes, we know the obvious issue here. The Utah faithful isn’t too fond of Williams after he allegedly was the reason Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan stopped coaching. Williams was then dealt shortly thereafter to New Jersey. What makes this even more fascinating is the fact that Harris was one of the focal points in the package that went to Utah in exchange for Williams.
The Jazz have a significant need at point guard. George Hill has been fantastic in his first season with Utah but he just can’t stay healthy, and their backup point guards in Shelvin Mack and Dante Exum are young and inconsistent. Utah has two first-round picks at their disposal in this year’s draft if they want to make a push for home-court advantage in the first-round of the playoffs. Seeing that the the Jazz are currently 2 1/2 games behind the Clippers for the #4 seed, one of Williams and Harris could provide a much needed veteran presence off the bench in those important moments down the stretch to give them a better shot at catching up.
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