Grade the trade: Mavericks land massive center upgrade in 3-team proposal

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Jonas Valanciunas
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Jonas Valanciunas / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
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The Dallas Mavericks have been searching for a center upgrade for years. It was the team’s weak spot during their 2022 run to the conference finals, and owner Mark Cuban called it the Mavs’ biggest need heading into the offseason. Dallas addressed it, but have they found an immediate answer?

The Mavericks drafted Dereck Livley II with the 12th overall pick as the long-term solution, but the 19-year-old played 20 minutes per game at Duke last season. He needs time to develop. Dallas traded for Richaun Holmes, but he was outside the Kings' rotation last season. Do they want to make him their starting center? If not, that leaves Dwight Powell to continue in that role.

The Mavs should be exploring upgrades throughout the season, and trades will be available. Multiple teams are interested in sending out big men, but asking prices are high right now. Things will cool as the trade deadline nears and contenders gear up for the stretch run.

Can the Dallas Mavericks trade for a center upgrade?

Karl-Anthony Towns, Deandre Ayton, Clint Capela, and others have been rumored to be on the trade block this offseason. Jonas Valanciunas is available, but the Pelicans want a center upgrade in the deal. Big men are out there, but does Dallas have the assets to acquire one?

The Mavs can offer two second-round draft picks, one unprotected first-round pick, and three first-round pick swaps in trades. That is not a massive haul of draft capital, and the front office is hesitant to put their 2027 first on the table. Dallas has an avenue to upgrade at the five, but they must wait for the right opportunity to be involved as the third team in a blockbuster deal.

That is what happens here. An All-Star big man heads to the Big Easy as the Mavericks swoop in to upgrade at the five.