The Dallas Mavericks Should Explore DeMar DeRozan Trade
By Evan Siegel
DeMar DeRozan’s stock has fallen significantly over the past season. His time in Toronto appears to be running out and the Dallas Mavericks should take a close look at the rapidly deteriorating situation surrounding the Raptors’ backcourt.
The Dallas Mavericks are still in the very early stages of their rebuild. Dennis Smith Jr. appears to be the team’s only sure thing heading into the foreseeable future. The Nerlens Noel experiment looks to have failed, and the rest of the roster is in flux. The Mavs have an opportunity to add one of the league’s premier complimentary pieces before surrounding their young point guard with other go-to options.
The first part of the intrigue here is that the Mavs and the rest of the NBA have gotten themselves a clear look at what DeMar DeRozan is, and more importantly, isn’t.
Up until his ejection in the second half of game four of the Cavaliers series in this year’s playoffs, the Raptors and their fans were still holding out hope that DeRozan would finally put it all together and become the elite shooting guard he has been so close to being for so long.
DeRozan unfortunately has a firm ceiling that he doesn’t appear capable of breaching, at least in Toronto. The Mavs, sitting near the top of the NBA lottery and in no position to compete for anything meaningful for at least a couple of seasons, should give DeRozan a look.
This year’s free agency crop is pretty thin. Lebron James once again headlines the festivities, but there is a shortage of players who could be available for the Mavericks to add one large piece to a gigantic puzzle. Instead of holding onto free agency fairy tales, the Mavs should try to fill in some of the smaller gaps while also making themselves more attractive to future free agents.
This is where DeRozan comes in. The Raptors never got the superstar-level play from DeRozan that they expected when they dolled out $139 million to him. Fortunately for the Mavs, they don’t need him to be that superstar.
In today’s NBA, championships are won and lost because of your complimentary pieces. Every team that reaches the second round of the playoffs has an elite player on their roster, but it is the team that has the superior third and fourth players that end up in the finals.
The Golden State Warriors are as dominant as they are because the splash brothers have somehow been demoted to being the second and third options offensively behind Kevin Durant.
Against the Cavaliers last year, the Warriors were not necessarily superior at the very top when it came to Lebron James vs. Kevin Durant, but were between Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving, Draymond Green and Kevin Love, and Klay Thompson and J.R. Smith. The Mavs should see the opportunity before them.
DeRozan would not have to be the best player on a championship team, or even the second best. As a player who has already been given his long term contract, the Mavs would be getting a bargain over time for DeRozan’s services as the salary cap increases from year to year. Locking down your potential third option before pursuing your top two is a sneaky good way to accelerate a rebuild.
A potential trade with the Raptors does not have to be particularly complicated either. The front office badly wanted Wesley Matthews when he was up for free agency, but instead ended up with DeMarre Carroll as their big free agent signing. Matthews is also the type of player that the Raptors are looking for at the moment.
As a scrappy, defensive-minded veteran, Matthews likely wouldn’t fold like a cheap tent the way the rest of the Raptors did in their playoff series with the Cavaliers. If Matthews was still bringing his high intensity every night for a team that will be picking in the top five of this year’s draft, he will most certainly bring it for a team that is a lock to be in the playoffs next year.
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A package for DeRozan would include Matthews, and possibly a third team. The Mavs should stay away from any deal that requires a future draft pick, but with the Charlotte Hornets looking to part ways with Kemba Walker, the Mavs could have an opportunity to jump into a three-team deal that could land them DeRozan.
DeRozan is somewhat limited offensively. Despite making four All-Star teams and being as proficient a scorer as the Raptors have ever had, his offensive repertoire has the reputation of being one dimensional and predictable. DeRozan is known for his long two point shots and tendency to drive to his right over his left.
But as a career 20 point per game scorer, how one dimensional can he be? During his time under Dwayne Casey, he was being coached by a defensive specialist who doesn’t compare to Rick Carlisle when it comes to unlocking a player’s top offensive game.
Rick Carlisle could help mold DeRozan into being the best version of himself possible, and give the Mavericks a better complimentary option than most teams would have.
If the Mavs can swing a deal that does not require them to part with a future draft pick, then they should absolutely give this scenario a long look. DeRozan is 28, and doesn’t have years of developmental basketball left, but is talented enough to warrant a long term spot on a team’s roster as they pursue a full scale rebuild.