Draft results prevent Mavericks from pulling off pipe dream trade scenario

Bronny James
Bronny James / David Becker/GettyImages

Despite having only the last pick in the draft to their name heading into the second round of the 2024 NBA Draft on Thursday afternoon, the Dallas Mavericks traded up to the 51st pick to select Melvin Ajinca from France.

Ajinca profiles as a prospective versatile 3-and-D wing with great size at 6-foot-8 and 215 pounds, though he'll need to prove that he can attack off the catch and shoot well enough from 3-point land to stick in the NBA.

Mavericks' President of Basketball Operations Nico Harrison spoke glowingly of Ajinca in Dallas' post-draft press conference, as the Mavericks are confident in this move they've made within the margins.

Bronny James going to Lakers prevents Mavericks from pulling off trade for LeBron James

Better yet, Dallas will get a firsthand look at Ajinca very soon when he plays on Dallas' Summer League roster this July, as his performance in Summer League could be a telling sign as to whether he'll stay overseas for another season or come to Dallas this coming fall.

While the Mavericks had a very solid draft considering that they had no picks inside the top 50 of the NBA Draft, they could have made a move that would've lit the rumor mill on fire ahead of this free agency period. After the Mavericks traded the 58th pick and cash considerations to the New York Knicks for the 51st pick in the draft, LeBron James' son Bronny James was still available on the draft board when Dallas was on the clock, though the Mavericks obviously opted to select Ajinca instead.

Bronny James still has quite a ways to go in terms of developing into an NBA caliber role player, and he certainly may have gotten his name boosted into draft circles more because of his father. However, considering James had a cardiac arrest episode last summer causing him to miss the start of the season for the USC Trojans, he's still pretty deserving of being in this draft class when you consider how well he played in high school as well as how good of an athlete he is at the guard position.

If Dallas selected James with the 51st pick, rumors would be swirling about LeBron James potentially coming to Dallas this free agency to team up with his son, as James has long coveted his former teammate Kyrie Irving and has shown a desire to reunite with him if at all possible as well.

However, with James' podcasting buddy JJ Redick being hired as the Los Angeles Lakers head coach just days ago, it seemed like the stars were aligning for the 39-year-old James to return to the Lakers via opting into his player option or on a new deal this summer anyways.

Now that James' son has been selected 55th overall by the Lakers in this year's draft, it all but seals the deal on LeBron James returning to Los Angeles, as rumors of James wanting to reunite with Irving dating as far back as last summer appear to be redundant now.

While the Mavericks didn't elect to punch their chance at this pipe dream scenario by selecting Bronny James with the 51st pick, the Mavericks found a talented player late in the draft in Ajinca, and are certainly not done making moves this summer, as re-signing Derrick Jones Jr. is at the top of their offseason priority list now.

For more on the Dallas Mavericks this offseason, stay tuned as we will have you covered all summer long.