Heading into last Thursday's trade deadline, the Dallas Mavericks had one main goal and two "preferred targets."
The Mavs reportedly wanted to upgrade at the power forward spot, with their two main targets being P.J. Washington and Kyle Kuzma.
Dallas ended up trading for Washington, but a deal for Kuzma was also close. So close to the point that Kuzma would have likely been traded to Dallas if he approved the trade offer that Washington Wizards president Michael Winger presented him with.
Dallas Mavericks were a 'nudge' away from blockbuster trade for Wizards star
"There was a point in time, Dallas, they definitely did want me,” Kuzma told The Athletic according to Josh Robbins (subscription required). “Winger presented me with what the trade was and obviously didn’t want to trade me and kind of left the decision up to me a little bit and asked me what I wanted to do. I told him I wanted to stay and continue to build something. And that was kind of the end of it.”
Robbins also reported that "it probably would have taken only a little nudge from Kuzma himself to make the deal happen." This was a deal that likely would have happened if Kuzma had given Winger the green light to advance these trade talks, but Winger took the deal off the table once Kuzma said he wanted to stay in Washington.
Winger said that Dallas' trade offer to the Wizards was "from the Wizards’ perspective, was fair but not a home run." It's unclear who and what draft picks the Mavs offered in this deal, but it's clear that Dallas pursued Kuzma aggressively.
Instead of Kuzma, Dallas and Washington were able to make a different trade for Daniel Gafford. Gafford has been a great fit in Dallas and is coming off a game against the Wizards in which he dropped 16 points and 17 rebounds.
Kuzma is someone who could have helped the Mavs tremendously, but Dallas ended up having a solid trade deadline regardless. The Mavs' next game is on Wednesday night against the San Antonio Spurs.
For all the latest on the Dallas Mavericks this season, stay tuned.