3. Dallas Mavericks land Dereck Lively II on draft night
This was one of my favorite trades that the Dallas Mavericks made this summer. Let me get into the reason why Nico Harrison looked like a veteran GM here. The Mavs got rid of one of the biggest contracts they had in Davis Bertans and were able to get their future center, Derek Lively II, with the 12th overall pick in this year's draft.
Bertans was under contract for two more seasons and was set to make around $33 million if he remained with Dallas. There is an early termination clause in his contract that Bertans could be waived for five million dollars if he ended up not playing 75% of the 2023-24 season. This was a safe move for the Mavs as they shed a bad contract and don't have to worry about not playing him a certain amount.
The reason why I give this trade a B+ is due to the fact Harrison found a suitor for one of the most expensive contracts the Mavs had remaining on their roster. It also allowed Dallas to get the player that they were targeting with the 12th overall pick in Lively II.
This would have been an A+ grade if Lively II had played at least two more years of college basketball. Lively still has a lot to learn as a center, as he only played one year at Duke. The NBA is a completely different ball game than college basketball. Fans can't assume that he will be ready to start right away.
The thing that Lively II has going for him is that he is learning from one of the best centers that the Mavericks have had, Tyson Chandler. He was also often compared to Chandler during the pre-draft process.
He played a lot of minutes down in Vegas during the NBA Summer League. Dallas Mavericks Assistant Coach Jared Dudley made sure he went head-to-head against one of the best players at the Summer League, such as Chet Holmgren. He still has a way to go before becoming an NBA starter, but the Mavericks have a franchise cornerstone piece in Lively II.