Unless things magically turn the other way for the Dallas Mavericks in the next few weeks, the franchise could be approaching a crossroads when it comes to building its current roster.
Through 31 games, the Mavs are 15-16 and tied for 10th in the Western Conference standings. Despite losing Jalen Brunson in the offseason, those results simply aren’t acceptable for Western Conference Finals teams, especially considering MVP candidate Luka Doncic has been, for the most part, fully healthy thus far.
So what can the Mavs realistically do to improve their situation going forward? Given how loaded the next NBA draft is supposed to be, led by top prospects Victor Wembanyama and Scott Henderson, Dallas. could always choose the “organic tanks” route. The Mavs still owe the Knicks their 2023 first-round pick, but it’s protected in the top-10. However, when you have a young talent of Doncic’s caliber, it’s hard to pull the plug and go that route.
When it comes to potential trade options, the most realistic ones would likely involve the Mavs not giving up another first-round pick. A potential trade for Tobias Harris to the Philadelphia 76ers fits that mold. Here’s what we think.
The Mavs get. Tobias Harris
76 receive. Tim Hardaway Jr., Reggie Bullock and JaVale McGee
For the 76ers, this trade would essentially be for Harris what the Mavs did with Kristaps Porzingis last season, trading his bloated contract for a few less bloated ones. Harris is making $37 million this season and is owed $39 million in 2023-24.
Although Tim Hardaway Jr. has two years remaining on his contract after this season, his contract is coming down. He’s making $19.6 million now, but in the final year of his contract, he’ll make $16.1 million, which is a little more manageable … and a lot more manageable than Harris’ $39 million.
Harris is averaging 17.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game while shooting 49.1 percent from the field, including 42 percent from deep. On paper, it looks like he’ll be a solid fit with the Mavs despite his huge contract. If the Mavs can shave off a year of less salary by trading Hardaway and McGee for him, that could be worth it.
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