The 2024 NBA trade deadline ended with the Dallas Mavericks completing three trades, including a deal with the Washington Wizards. However, while Dallas did not land Kyle Kuzma, whom an NBA insider labeled previously revealed as a "preferred target," it did get a backup big who has the potential to solve some of the team's weaknesses.
Daniel Gafford has already proven his worth, punching in an electric debut for the Mavs in a game that saw the squad fix a longtime issue. The fact that it came against one of the league's top contenders, the Oklahoma City Thunder, made it all the more impressive.
Even so, will Dallas regret not getting Kuzma from the Wizards? Apparently, a deal for the forward almost came to fruition.
Rumors: Dallas Mavericks were close to trading for Wizards star
Josh Robbin of The Athletic reported that Washington came close to accepting an offer (subscription required) for Kuzma, although the source didn't disclose the identity of the supposed trade partner. However, the website had already divulged earlier that the Mavs were "almost certainly" the suitor for seventh-year pro.
Why didn't the deal push through, though? Apparently, the Wizards were seeking at least two first-round picks. Dallas likely balked at the asking price, as drying off its cupboard of draft assets for a non-All-Star would have crippled its flexibility in the future.
As it turned out, the Mavs front office turned underperforming players and a couple of protected first-round picks into Gafford and P.J. Washington, a promising forward formerly of the Charlotte Hornets. And based on the new acquisitions' first appearances in a Mavs uniform, the organization may have done the right thing.
Still, it remains to be seen if not getting Kuzma will haunt Dallas soon. Averaging 21.8 points and 4.2 assists per contest this season, he could have provided the team with a third reliable scoring option who can distribute the ball. Perhaps his most valuable asset to the Mavs would have been his championship pedigree, having won a ring with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020.
Kuzma will have the chance to prove that Dallas was wrong for not going all-in on him when the Wizards visit on Monday.
As for the Mavs, they have a four-game win streak at stake and are looking to climb further in the standings, where they are eighth in the Western Conference with a 30-23 record.
Stay tuned with us to read more news and rumors about the Dallas Mavericks.