Thing Dallas Mavericks can learn from Kristaps Porzingis trade: 3. Protecting picks can hurt
The Mavericks traded two first-round picks to the Atlanta Hawks in the Luka Doncic deal. The Stepien Rule prevents NBA teams from shipping out their first-round pick two years in a row. Dallas owed their 2019 first-rounder to Atlanta, meaning the two they sent to New York had to start in 2021.
The Mavericks decided to trade the Knicks an unprotected first in 2021, but put a top ten protection on their 2023 selection. The reasoning made sense. Dallas had missed the playoffs two straight years and were well on their way to a third. There were no guarantees Porzingis would stay healthy or Doncic would become a superstar. The Mavs could still miss the playoffs in 2023.
The protection has hamstrung them in making future moves. It prevents Dallas from trading their 2025 pick because they may owe 2024 instead of 2023. The Mavericks would love to be able to deal their 2025 and 2027 picks this summer as they look to improve their roster. To do so, they will have to get the Knicks to agree to remove the protection, which will likely cost Dallas a second-round pick, at minimum.
The Dallas Mavericks must be careful protecting draft picks going forward because it limits their ability to make moves.
Next: No. 2