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
2 of 4

3. Mavericks land their new starting center by trading for Daniel Gafford

Leading into the 2024 NBA trade deadline, the Dallas Mavericks needed another big man other than their rookie Dereck Lively II. Lively II quickly became crucial to the team and their chances of winning, and there was a huge drop-off when Lively II was off the floor, as the next centers in the rotation were Dwight Powell and Richaun Holmes.

The Mavs had a couple of other pressing needs outside of a new backup center, but the Mavs didn't ignore their weakness at this position as they traded Richaun Holmes and a first-round pick (acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder) in exchange for Daniel Gafford from the Washington Wizards.

gafford trade

Gafford started his Mavs tenure coming off the bench, but he quickly became the starting center over Livey II and has been a key role player for the second half of the regular season and for the entire postseason.

As a Maverick during the regular season, Gafford averaged 11.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.7 steals, and 1.9 blocks per game while shooting 78 percent from the field. Gafford's rim protection, ability as a lob threat, and energy helped the Mavs tremendously, and this trade changed the trajectory of their season.

The Mavs get an A for this trade, as Gafford isn't playing as well in the playoffs as expected, but his team-friendly contract, age, and great attitude make him the perfect player for the Mavs for years to come.

Daniel Gafford trade regrade. A. Outstanding fit and formed elite one-two punch with Lively II. Has underperformed in the playoffs, but will be huge in Minnesota series. Daniel Gafford trade