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If, unlike Mark Cuban, you don’t routinely cross-pollinate sports and popular culture, perhaps you missed his “exclusive” Mavericks pronouncement a few days ago.
During an appearance on Live with Kelly and Ryan, Cuban was interrogated by Ryan Seacrest about persisting Kristaps Porzingis trade rumors. Before Cheap Dallas Mavericks Jerseys Seacrest even Cheap Dennis Rodman Jersey completed his question, Cuban, via video, vigorously shook his head and frowned for emphasis.
“We’re not trading KP,” Cuban said, further Cheap Dwight Powell Jersey declaring: “KP’s a star. It’s not going to happen, Ryan. You heard it here first. It’s definitely not going to happen.”
There you have it. Understand, Cuban occasionally fibs to sportswriters (“Everything is fine with Lamar Odom”), but tell a white lie to Seacrest and Kelly Ripa? With America as their witness? Never!
With Porzingis off the Cheap Tyson Chandler Jersey market, not that he was on it to start with, there is little to no chance that the Mavericks make a seismic trade before Thursday’s 2 p.m. deadline. Outside of its Big Two of Porzingis and Luka Doncic, Dallas doesn’t have enough coveted players or draft picks to feasibly make a big trade.
Define big? For instance, Mavs fan Cheap Delon Wright Jersey Twitter darlings Zach LaVine, Aaron Gordon and their pipe-dream target, Bradley Beal.
For different reasons, I don’t expect Dallas to pursue Victor Oladipo and his expiring $21 million contract.
Given Josh Richardson’s recent Cheap Justin Jackson Jersey surge, why would the Mavericks fork over assets to rent a player coming off a serious quad injury? A load-managed guard who has played only 27 games? A player who, yes, is averaging 21.2 points, but is Cheap Luka Doncic Jersey shooting 40% from the field and 31% from 3-point range?
Then there is 6-11, 270-pound object of perpetual fan wanderlust Andre Drummond. If acquiring Drummond was as cheap as the Cavaliers’ reported asking price of a second-round pick, I’m told that, sure, Dallas would have interest, but it’s anything but that simple.
Drummond, 27, makes $28.7 million Cheap Kristaps Porzingis Jersey this season, the last on his contract. To acquire him by trade from Cleveland, hard-capped Dallas would have to send approximately the same value in return.
Is it possible to package, say, James Johnson ($15.8 million salary), Dwight Powell ($11 million) and a second-round pick? Yes, but I’m told the Mavericks have no interest in doing anything like that. And why would the Cavs would be interested Cheap Courtney Lee Jersey in Powell, 14 months removed from tearing his Achilles, and his two additional contract years at $11 million per?
If Drummond isn’t traded by Thursday’s deadline and agrees to a buyout with Cleveland, I’m told that of course Dallas would be among Cheap Willie Cauley-Stein Jersey the teams interested in signing him. It’s far more likely, though, that he would choose to go to a title contender like Brooklyn, the Lakers or Clippers.
So if a major deal is unlikely, if not out of the question, where does that leave the Mavericks? Clearly, climbing from 14th in the Western Conference on Feb. 7 to their Cheap Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Jersey current No. 8 position if anything would make them buyers, not sellers.
But how motivated are they to buy?
Cuban in recent interviews has Cheap Tim Hardaway Jersey preached patience, saying on the Mavs Step Back Podcast that unless Dallas somehow can acquire a “game-changing star, I don’t see us doing anything at all. If it’s not going to move the needle, I’d rather go with continuity.”
The Mavericks, though, are a famously Cheap James Johnson Jersey unpredictable franchise, with Cuban demanding a leak-proof culture. If anything, the Cuban Era has been one of fake left, go right when it comes to acquisitions.
This is the 22nd trade deadline since Cuban’s January 2000 purchase of the franchise. On nine occasions the franchise has made what could be classified as a significant trade, including three of the past four years.
On two other occasions there have been minor trades. And of the 10 times Dallas didn’t make a trade, it on several occasions Cheap Josh Richardson Jersey supplemented the roster with free-agent or buyout signings: Dennis Rodman in 2000; Peja Stojakovic and Corey Brewer in 2011; David Lee in 2016; Michael Kidd-Gilchrist last season.
FILE – Mavericks center Willie Cauley-Stein (33) dunks the ball during the first quarter of a game against the Hawks on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
FILE – Mavericks center Willie Cauley-Stein (33) dunks the ball during the first quarter of a game against the Hawks on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, at American Airlines Center in Dallas.(Ashley Landis / Staff Photographer)
Speaking of last year, here’s what Cuban told me a few days before the trade deadline, at which time Dallas was 31-20 and tied for sixth in the West.
“We kept this team together for a reason,” he said, adding that trade acquisitions Porzingis, Tim Hardaway, Courtney Lee and Justin Jackson had been “huge positives. All the guys we signed, Seth [Curry], D-Wright [Delon Wright] and Boban [Marjanovic] have been amazing.”
“It’s a good group of guys. That’s why we’re in no rush to do anything at all,” Cuban said.
By then Dallas already had traded Cheap Tyrell Terry Jersey second-round pick Isaiah Roby and acquired Willie Cauley-Stein, but that wasn’t so much a deadline deal as it was out of necessity after Powell’s Achilles rupture.
In reality, Dallas already had its eye on Toronto’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Charlotte’s Kidd-Gilchrist, the latter of whom they signed after he arranged a buyout from Charlotte.
And hours after the trade deadline, The News learned that the Mavericks had a three-team deal in place with the Lakers and Knicks to acquire Danny Green in the event the Knicks traded Marcus Morris Sr. to the Lakers. Dallas would have given up Lee’s expiring contract and the Golden State second-round pick that eventually became Tyrell Terry.
The Knicks, though, traded Morris to the Clippers, foiling Dallas’ plan to fortify its roster with playoff-proven Green, though at the time no one knew the coronavirus would cause the playoffs to be delayed four months and to take place on the Disney World campus.
See? Fake left, go right, or at least make the attempt.
And guess what? By the start of this season, Curry, Wright and Jackson no longer were Mavericks.
The point is, Cuban and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson always are looking to upgrade the roster, even while sending smoke signals that they aren’t.
The brain trust’s thinking entering last year’s trade deadline was that if it could acquire a player who potentially could mean the difference between a first-round playoff exit and advancing at least to the second round, then giving up assets would be worthwhile.
Dallas’ roster evaluation entering this trade deadline should if anything be even more ambitious.
Advancing to last year’s second round would have been a windfall. This year, anything less would be considered as failure.
Treading water from a playoff standpoint from Doncic’s second season to his third? In some respects, such an occurrence would be a year wasted. Extending the franchise’s playoff-series win drought to a 10th year? Imagine the fan base howls.
The January broadsiding of the Mavericks’ playing rotation by COVID-19 certainly has complicated any evaluation of the roster, but you’d better believe that if the Mavericks do or attempt nothing before Thursday’s deadline or in the ensuing buyout period, it’s because the current roster has been deemed at least second-round plausible.
And if you haven’t noticed, opportunity is more available in the Western Conference than it appeared a few weeks ago. Utah suddenly is struggling. Anthony Davis’ injury absence continues in Lakerland and on Saturday LeBron James sustained a high ankle sprain and is out indefinitely. Yes, Phoenix swept Dallas 3-0 this season, but the winning margins were one, four and six points.
Pistons guard Wayne Ellington (8) is guarded by Knicks forward Reggie Bullock (25) during the second quarter of a game on Thursday, March 4, 2021, in New York. (Wendell Cruz/Pool Photo via AP)
Pistons guard Wayne Ellington (8) is guarded by Knicks forward Reggie Bullock (25) during the second quarter of a game on Thursday, March 4, 2021, in New York. (Wendell Cruz/Pool Photo via AP)(Wendell Cruz)
It’s clear that the Mavericks need better rebounding than their current 26th-in-the-league average. Can the improvement come from within, as the team’s 13-5 record since Feb. 3 suggests is possible?
Dallas is 20th in the league in 3-point percentage (35.6), which probably explains why the Mavericks in recent weeks reportedly had interest in New Orleans’ JJ Redick.
Redick, though, is 36, is shooting only 36% from 3-point distance and has been out the past two weeks with a hamstring strain.
Also, Redick is on an expiring $13 million contract. A more logical and less expensive Mavericks target, if the brain trust believes a sharpshooter is needed, is Wayne Ellington, for whom the Pistons reportedly want a second-round pick.
Ellington is 33, is averaging 42.2% shooting from 3-point distance and is on an expiring veteran minimum contract ($2.5 million).
Oh, and when Ellington was a Maverick during the 2013-14 season, Carlisle raved about his professionalism. Ellington shot a career-best 42.4% from 3-point distance that season, but playing time was not plentiful and the following summer he was packaged in the deal to bring back Tyson Chandler.
No one from the Mavericks is asking me, but Ellington is the playoff-insurance guy I would add, although Dallas’ roster admittedly is crowded with guards.
Regardless, until 2:01 p.m. Thursday, it’s best to take anything Cuban says about the trade deadline with a healthy dose of salt.
Unless, of course, he gives the exclusive to Ryan and Kelly.