The Dallas Mavericks have moved leaps and bounds in terms of improving their youth and perimeter/wing defense this off-season, but the addition of a starting big still looms large on Nico Harrison’s agenda this offseason.
The Mavericks may or may not have a trade in place for a starting center before the season starts, as the current NBA trade market largely hinges on the likes of where James Harden and Damian Lillard will land.
Idealistically, some of the big chips this off-season will fall off the trade block, leaving the door open for Dallas to potentially take back a third salary in a larger trade.
Grade the Trade: Mavericks land elite defender in mock blockbuster trade
But, if Dallas can’t find a way to get involved in a bigger 3-team deal or find a way to make a straight-up trade for a starting center before training camp, the Mavericks may need to head into the season with their infamous bullpen approach to the center position.
Tim Hardaway Jr. and JaVale McGee have been the two most reported Mavericks to be on the chopping block ever since rumors of the Mavericks trying to accrue a starting center started swirling at the end of last season.
However, newly-acquired big man Richaun Holmes was reportedly yet another asset that Dallas was willing to deal earlier this offseason.
Before the trade sending him and 24th overall pick Olivier-Maxence Prosper to Dallas in exchange for cash considerations from Sacramento was announced as official on July 6, the Mavericks were looking to expand the deal and move Holmes elsewhere.
Holmes will look to revitalize his career in Dallas after injuries, along with the acquisition of All-Star center Domantas Sabonis, derailed his spot in the rotation with the Kings last season.
But despite Holmes' solid screen setting, ability to finish and make plays in the short pick and roll, and decent ability to switch on defense, he isn’t the true elite rim protector that Dallas is looking for this offseason.
With rookie center Dereck Lively still needing time to develop a lot more before he presumably starts in Dallas, Holmes, Maxi Kleber, and Dwight Powell will likely be spearheading the Mavericks center rotation at the start of the year if the front office decides to forgo addressing the center position before the start of the season.
This would leave a clear vacancy for Dallas heading into the year in the rim protection department, but one writer has a unique and potentially viable mock trade that could address Dallas' need for a rim protector and defensive anchor at the center position.
We'll break down the incentives for both parties partaking in this mock trade, as well as hand out letter grades for how each side would presumably fare if they made these trades.