Trade that allows Dallas Mavericks to upgrade at center: 2. Snag Valanciunas
Jonas Valanciunas was traded from the Grizzlies to the Pelicans where signed an extension through 2024. New Orleans has just one win in their first seven games, and star Zion Williamson remains without a return date. It seems likely that the Pelicans are headed for the lottery again. Could that make Valanciunas expendable before the deadline?
The Mavs need to add Dwight Powell or Maxi Kleber to make the salaries work. The Pelicans would prefer Kleber, but Dallas is unlikely to part with him because of his defense. New Orleans adds Josh Green and two draft picks as they keep taking lottery tickets as they build around Zion and Brandon Ingram.
Valanciunas is a force in the paint. He remains one of the league’s best rebounders along with being able to protect the rim and hit the occasional 3-pointer. The Mavericks would make him their primary pick and roll partner with Luka Doncic. JV scored 1.14 points per possession off those plays last season in Memphis, but expect that number to increase if he teams with the Mavericks superstar.
Jonas Valanciunas would be a massive upgrade over Dwight Powell, but pulling off a deal would not be easy. The Pelicans will have plenty of suitors if they make JV available.