The Smoking Cuban

Dallas Mavericks rumors: Bulls interested in Maxi Kleber

Dallas Mavericks Maxi Kleber Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Mavericks Maxi Kleber Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Mavericks rumors have the team interested in acquiring Lauri Markkanen as his stalemate with the Chicago Bulls continues. Markkanen is a restricted free agent and would prefer to move on. The Bulls have no reason to let him without receiving something in return. Bleacher Reporter’s Jake Fischer rumored Chicago’s asking price is a first-round pick.

The Athletic’s Tim Cato ran down (subscription required) the Mavericks summer league performance and discussed the Mavericks’ pursuit of Markkanen. He set the odds of him landing in Dallas “at 30 or 40 percent”. He also shared the rumor that the Bulls are interested in Maxi Kleber.

Should the Dallas Mavericks trade Kleber for Markkanen? Does that help them win in the postseason? Let us take a closer look.

More. Rumors: How a Lauri Markkanen deal could happen

Dallas Mavericks Rumors: Bulls interested in Maxi Kleber

Cato outlines two paths for Dallas to acquire Markkanen. One involves the 24-year-old restricted free agent taking less money to fit into the Mavs traded player exception created in the Josh Richardson deal. Dallas would likely send back a draft choice here. The second features Kleber heading to Chicago.

Kleber is a 3-and-D forward. His ability to protect the rim and defend on the perimeter is unique. The 6’10 forward shot 41.0 percent from 3-point range last season but has never played more than 26.8 minutes per game. Kleber is a role player.

Lauri Markkanen is a proven 15 point per game scorer that shot over 40 percent from 3-point range last season, but his defense makes him a questionable fit next to Kristaps Porzingis in Dallas. Markkanen is an offensive upgrade over Kleber, but would the defensive downgrade make it a net negative? The Mavericks have struggled on defense in recent years making it a larger gamble.

If Dallas signs Markkanen to a below-market value contract of three years at $11 million annually, it could be a win, but there is plenty of downside, especially given Markkanen’s injury history.

The Dallas Mavericks are not done this offseason. They are still exploring moves. Will any of them get across the finish line? Stay tuned.

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