Regrading 4 Mavericks trades that turned them into elite contenders in the West

Dallas Mavericks, P.J. Washington, Daniel Gafford
Dallas Mavericks, P.J. Washington, Daniel Gafford / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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The Dallas Mavericks are in the middle of an incredible run throughout the 2024 NBA Playoffs, and now they have their hands full with the Minnesota Timberwolves as the Western Conference Finals begin tomorrow.

Dallas started the 2024 NBA Playoffs with a gritty series win over the LA Clippers, and they followed that up with an intense series win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Mavericks are rolling with steam at the perfect team, and the leadership from their two stars has been phenomenal. Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving's bond continues to grow, and their togetherness on and off the floor is taking this Mavericks team to new heights.

Regrading 4 Mavericks trades that turned them into elite contenders in the West

Both Doncic and Irving have stepped up when their team has needed it most, but Dallas' role players have also been huge in the playoffs.

Derrick Jones Jr. has been outstanding on both ends in the playoffs, and multiple other role players have also helped the Mavs reach the Western Conference Finals. Many of these players were acquired via trade, and Nico Harrison's work in the trade market has truly helped turn this Mavericks team into a monster.

Here we regrade four trades that the Dallas Mavericks made over the last season and a half that turned them into elite contenders in the Western Conference.

4. Mavericks pull off draft night trade with Thunder and select Dereck Lively II

On the day of the draft, Mark Cuban said the Dallas Mavericks' biggest need was a rim protector. The Mavs couldn't continue to depend on Dwight Powell as their starting center if they wanted to be a true contender, and they rolled the dice on draft night as they traded for the draft rights to Dereck Lively II.

lively trade

The Mavs sent the Thunder Davis Bertans and the No. 10 pick (Cason Wallace) for a Traded Player Exception and the No. 12 pick, which they used to select Dereck Lively II. Dallas needed a true 7-footer who could protect the rim for years, and that's exactly what they got right away in Lively II.

During his rookie season, Lively II averaged 8.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 0.7 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting 74.7 percent from the field. Everyone knew how great Lively II was going to be right after his first game as he outplayed Victor Wembanyama, and he has been great as both a starter and off the bench.

Another underrated part of this trade is the Traded Player Exception they used to trade back into the first round and draft Olivier-Maxence Prosper. Although Prosper didn't end up having much of a role in his rookie year, all signs are pointing to him developing into a solid role player over the next few years.

The Mavs get an A+ for this trade as they got rid of one of their worst contracts (Bertans) while only trading back two spots to select Lively II. Although very different players, Lively II made a bigger difference for Dallas than Wallace did for Oklahoma City, and Lively II looks like he'll be a key piece for the Mavs for a long time.

Dereck Lively II trade regrade. A+. Got rid of one of the worst contracts in the NBA. Landed an elite rookie rim protector and rim runner who ended up fitting perfectly. Dereck Lively II trade