The Dallas Mavericks have a lot of reasons to feel good right now. They are coming off a season that saw them return to the playoffs after a three year absence. Despite their inexperience, they gave one of the best teams in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Clippers, all they could handle in the first round before losing in six games. And they have two of the league’s best young players in 21-year old Luka Doncic and 25-year old Kristaps Porzingis. As well as they have played this season, which saw them finish with a 43-32 record, good for seventh in the West, the Mavericks can only get better.
Another reason for the Mavericks to feel good is that they are rumored to be a potential destination for the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, the league’s MVP and newly-minted Defensive Player of the Year. Antetokounmpo will not become a free agent until his deal with the Buckers expires in 2021, but another early playoff exit has fueled speculation that he could leave the team. Former NBA player and analyst Brian Scalabrine previously said that Dallas is a potential destination for the MVP, which he revealed in a radio interview.
While Antetokounmpo said that he plans to stay in Milwaukee, and Bucks co-owner and team governor Marc Lasry made it clear they are willing to spend into the league’s luxury tax in order to assemble supporting cast around him, the prospect of having three European stars in Antetokounmpo, Doncic, and Porzingis on the same team remains a tantalizing prospect. A combination of those two stars should vault them into the one of the best teams in the West alongside the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, and Denver Nuggets and give them their best chance of winning a title in the post Dirk Nowitzki era.
Of course, the Mavericks can afford to stand pat in the Giannis Antetokounmpo Sweepstakes this offseason and just wait for The Greek Freak to join Doncic in free agency in the summer of 2021. However, it’s not impossible for them to acquire him via trade, especially if he makes it known that he plans to stick around after his deal expires, similar to how the Lakers acquired Anthony Davis. Here are three trade packages that the Mavericks could potentially offer to the Bucks to acquire the reigning MVP:
1. The Asset Trade For Giannis Antetokounmpo
Tim Hardaway Jr., Seth Curry, Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, two first round picks (2020 and 2022)
Aside from Doncic and Porzingis, the Mavericks’ roster also has several players that they could include in a potential deal with the Bucks. Hardaway was their third-leading scorer during the regular season, averaging 15.8 points on 43.4% shooting, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.9 assists, numbers which he improved in the playoffs. Curry, meanwhile, was the Mavs’ fourth-leading scorer, with averages of 12.4 points on 49.5% shooting, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.4 assists.
The 27-year old Finney-Smith, meanwhile, put up per game averages of 9.5 points while shooting 46.6% from the field to go with 5.7 boards and 1.6 assists. Kleber also put up similar numbers with 9.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 25.5 minutes of play. Dallas doesn’t own its 2021 first round pick, which they included in the deal to acquire Porzingis from the New York Knicks. However, they can include their first round pick in this year’s draft and in the 2022 draft in a potential deal together with some of the key players from their 2019-2020 squad.
2. The Future Is Now
Tim Hardaway Jr., Seth Curry, Dwight Powell, Jalen Brunson, two first round picks (2020 and 2022), and two second-round picks (2021 and 2022)
Several draft picks were included in some of the most important details during the 2019 offseason. The Lakers gave up three first round picks as part of the Anthony Davis trade. Houston, meanwhile, included two protected first round picks and other draft considerations to get Russell Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Chris Paul. And no one will soon forget the massive haul of draft picks that the Clippers gave up to the Thunder to acquire Paul George, which included five unprotected first round picks and a couple of pick swaps.
With an average age of 29.7 years, the current Bucks lineup is one of the league’s oldest teams outside of Antetokounmpo and Donte DiVincenzo, and could use the infusion of young talent that a haul of draft picks would give them. Powell is an able big man who averaged 9.4 points on an efficient 63.8% shooting, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.5 assists for coach Rick Carlisle this season. The 24-year old Brunson, meanwhile, would serve as a solid backup point guard, as the Villanova product put up 8.2 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 3.3 assist in just 17.9 minutes of play. But if the blockbuster trades from last year’s offseason are any indication, it would probably take more than that for Dallas to pry The Greek Freak from Milwaukee.
3. Risking It All For Giannis Antetokounmpo
As much as Dallas would want to acquire Giannis Antetokounmpo while retaining Doncic and Porzingis, the reality is that it would take a king’s random for the Bucks to part ways with their franchise player. This would likely involve the Mavericks offering Porzingis in order to trade for him. The New Orleans Pelicans got an All Star in Brandon Ingram from the Lakers in the Anthony Davis trade, while the Thunder got a potential All Star in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander from the Clippers before they let go of Paul George.
Acquiring Porzingis, who averaged 20.4 points on 42.7% shooting, 9.5 rebounds, and two blocks per game in 57 games during the regular season, would at least give the Bucks a talent that they can build around in exchange for the reigning MVP. The 25-year old has shown that he can still reach the heights that he did before he tore his ACL two years ago. In the end, trading for Antetokounmpo might come down to whether or not the Mavericks are sure that he will stay with the team for the long haul, as giving up players and assets for someone who will only leave in free agency the next year is too great a gamble. Another factor that is just as important is whether or not they are willing to part ways with Porzingis in order to pair Antetokounmpo with another potential MVP in Doncic.