The Dallas Mavericks have been known to be quite active each time the trade deadline comes around.
Owner Mark Cuban has spared no expense to keep his team competitive over the years, absorbing huge contracts for the betterment of his squad.
The Mavs brass has also been known to take calculated risks on draft day, giving up assets in order to move up the draft order.
Those gambles, more often than not, paid off in a big way and had franchise-altering ramifications for the Mavs.
Here are five of the best trade decisions the Mavs have made over the years.
Honorable mentions: Steve Nash (1996), Jason Kidd (2008), Sam Perkins (1980), Rolando Blackman (1980), Shawn Marion (2009)
5. Kristaps Porzingis (2019)
It’s quite early to tell and the jury is still out if giving up quite the haul for Porzingis was the right call.
The Mavs, after all, forked over an unprotected 2021 first-round draft pick and an additional top-ten protected 2023 first-rounder for his services last year along with Dennis Smith Jr. and the expiring contracts of DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews. In return, they got The Unicorn, Trey Burke, Courtney Lee, and Tim Hardaway Jr.
But judging by the Latvian’s stellar play in the 2019-20 campaign, it looks like Dallas did hit the jackpot. Putting up their chips for Porzingis ensures the Mavs a second cornerstone for the future. The 7-foot-3 center has jelled beautifully with Luka Doncic and has certainly sped up Dallas’ supposed rebuilding phase.
Moreover, his ability to stretch the floor at his size definitely reminds the Mavs nation of someone dear close to their hearts. Porzingis is currently notching 20.4 points om 42.7 percent shooting from the field and 25.2 percent from the 3-point arc, along with 9.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per night.
4. Jason Terry (2004)
Terry was a borderline All-Star in his early years with the Atlanta Hawks. The Mavs saw that he’ll be a suitable no.2 for Dirk Nowitzki, trading away Antoine Walker and Tony Delk. Dallas also received Alan Henderson and a future first-round draft pick in the process.
Terry proved to be the perfect fit for the Mavs, becoming the 2nd player in history (alongside Steve Nash) to shoot 50% from the floor, 40% from 3-point range and 80% from the foul line in his first season in Texas.
After being a starter for most of his career, the Jet also embraced coming off the bench for the Mavs. This move catapulted the team to contention in the following years. He was recognized as the league’s best reserve in 2009.
Following the Finals heartbreak in 2006, Terry was a big part of Dallas’ first and only NBA title in 2011. In eight seasons with the Mavs, Terry notched career averages of 16.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.2 steals in 619 games.
3. Tyson Chandler (2010)
That lone Mavs championship wouldn’t have been made possible if Dallas did not pull off this heist with the Charlotte Bobcats. Dallas received two 7-footers in Chandler and Alexis Ajinca in exchange for Erick Dampier, Eduardo Nájera, Matt Carrol,l and cash considerations.
Chandler was a force in his lone season in a Mavs uniform, recording 10.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks. The one-time NBA Defensive Player did all the right things that often did not reflect in the scoreboard. He set hard screens, altered a lot of shots, and made sure his teammates were always in prime position to get the loose ball.
Sadly, for the Mavs, they couldn’t retain his services as he hit free agency after that championship run. Maybe Dallas would have had a couple more Larry O’Brien trophies had he stayed put.
2. Luka Doncic (2018)
Doncic is just in his second season in the league, but it’s safe to say that the Dallas Mavericks really knew what they were getting when they traded up to draft him in 2018.
Dallas was picking 5th overall that year and they were primed to get a quality player given how deep the pool selection was.
They selected the University of Oklahoma standout Trae Young but already had a deal in place with the Atlanta Hawks to swap picks. Dallas badly wanted Atlanta’s 3rd overall selection, Doncic, so they even added a protected 2019 draft pick to sweeten the pot.
While both Luka and Trae turned out to be franchise cornerstones, it’s the Slovenian guard who emerged as the best player from that class.
Following his spectacular freshman year where he took home ROTY honors, Doncic took a giant leap to superstardom in the 2019-20 campaign. He has already broken so many franchise and league records at just the tender age of 21.
Apart from his gaudy numbers, Doncic also led the Mavs to clinch their first playoff berth since 2016.
1. Dirk Nowitzki (1998)
As if there was any question to begin with. The Mavs’ brilliant decision to acquire the then unheralded German standout put them in the basketball map.
Sure, the Mavs already fielded formidable players like Mark Aguirre and Rolando Blackman in the past, but Dirk was simply a transcendent talent.
Nowitzki was originally drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks 9th overall in ’98. The Mavs had taken the late Robert “Tractor” Traylor at sixth but figured they could flip him for more assets.
Dallas received Nowitzki and Pat Garrity from the Bucks then sent Garrity to the Suns for Steve Nash.
To be fair, this was a pre-arranged deal but imagine how the Mavs and the Bucks would have looked in the 2000s if they kept their original selections.
The Mavs also deserve some major props for sticking it out with Nowitzki during his early years. The 7-foot shooter struggled mightily at the beginning of his NBA career. Most franchises give up early on international prospects, but the Mavs kept their faith with him.
Dirk rewarded the franchise with supreme loyalty, spending all of his 21 playing years in Dallas. He remains the franchise leader in almost every major statistical category and is heralded as the best international player of all time.