Will the Dallas Mavericks trade for Zach LaVine this summer?

Dallas Mavericks, Zach LaVine
Dallas Mavericks, Zach LaVine / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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Dallas Mavericks, Zach LaVine
Dallas Mavericks, Zach LaVine / Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Case against the Dallas Mavericks targeting Zach LaVine

The Mavs made a massive defensive improvement under head coach Jason Kidd this season, and it was the reason they advanced to the Western Conference Finals. Dallas held the Jazz to 100 or fewer points in four of the six games to win their first playoff series since 2011 before limiting the Suns to their three worst scoring performances of the season over the final five games to win in round two.

LaVine rated as one of the worst defenders in the NBA. He finished 228 of 250 qualified players in FiveThirtyEight’s defensive RAPTOR after rating 207th in 2021. The 6’5 wing has the size and athleticism to at least hold his own on the defensive end, but he will get attacked in the postseason unless massive improvements are made this summer.

Beyond his defense, health and opportunity costs matter here. LaVine is currently recovering from knee surgery, and it is not his first procedure on his knees. In his eight-year NBA career, LaVine has only played in 76.0 percent of the possible regular season contest because of various injuries.

Trading for LaVine also locks Dallas in on a partnership of Doncic and the 6’5 guard for at least two years. Just like when they traded for Kristaps Porzingis, the Mavericks will be out of the running for other star payers that become available during that window. Is LaVine the ideal partner for Luka or should Dallas incrementally improve their roster this summer in hopes of landing a bigger fish down the line?