If basketball never stops, neither do basketball rumors. With the Dallas Mavericks crapping out of the postseason in one of the most spectacular in-season collapses in recent history, the franchise's entire future seems suddenly tenuous. Kyrie Irving, who the Mavs dealt for at February's trade deadline, is a free agent; Luka Doncic is under contract until 2026 and has a player option for 2027, but could force his way out of Dallas well before then. In fact, Doncic has been so frustrated this season that he could request a trade as soon as next summer, per ESPN's Tim MacMahon. While it seems unlikely that the Mavs would ever willingly trade Doncic, there's no doubt that teams around the league would be lining up with massive offers. Here are the three blockbuster Luka Doncic trade proposals that the Mavs should consider.
Mavs get: RJ Barrett, Quentin Grimes, Obi Toppin, 2023 first round pick (via Dallas, top 10 protected), 2023 first round pick (via Detroit, top 18 protected), 2024 first round pick (via Washington, top 12 protected), unprotected 2024 first round pick, 2025 first round pick (via Milwaukee, top 5 protected), unprotected 2026 first round pick, 2028 unprotected first round pick
Knicks get: Luka Doncic
Ever since the shocking Kristaps Porzingis trade in 2019, the Knicks and Mavs have been tied at the hip—the Knicks signed Jalen Brunson away from Dallas last summer; the Mavs roster five former Knicks. As such, the Knicks are a natural destination for the Mavs to trade Luka Doncic; they've been desperate for a true superstar and they have the war chest of draft picks and young players to make it happen.
Here, the Mavs would receive seven first round picks (including three unprotected ones) to jumpstart the rebuild, as well as promising youngsters like RJ Barrett, Quentin Grimes and Obi Toppin. To wit, guys like Mitchell Robinson and Immanuel Quickley could also interest the Mavs, which would provide multiple pathways to a deal.
Mavs get: Jaylen Brown, Robert Williams, unprotected 2024 first round pick, unprotected 2026 first round pick, 2028 first round pick (least favorable between Boston and San Antonio)
Celtics get: Luka Doncic
As evidenced by their flirtation with a Kevin Durant trade last summer, the Celtics aren't afraid to get aggressive in their pursuit of the franchise's 18th title. To be sure, the Celtics are already a championship-caliber team (they have the best net rating in the league and made the Finals just last year), but Doncic is a clear upgrade over Jaylen Brown nevertheless. Brown is an All-Star; Doncic is an All-NBAer. To wit, Doncic is a more natural fit next to Jayson Tatum and would inject a certain playmaking genius that the Celtics have lacked in recent years. By pairing the 25-year-old Tatum with the 24-year-old Luka Doncic, this trade would give the Celtics potentially the best young duo in basketball history.
For Dallas, this would represent more of a reset than a rebuild—the duo of Jaylen Brown and Kyrie Irving would be good enough to keep the Mavs in the playoff hunt for years to come, provided that they re-sign Irving. To wit, Robert Williams would instantly shore up the Mavs' disastrous defense. Similarly, the three first round picks would give the Mavs optionality as they move forward, allowing them to either make further trades to add reinforcements or steadily add young talent to grow behind their two stars.
Mavs get: Desmond Bane, Steven Adams, Brandon Clarke, Luke Kennard, unprotected 2023 first round pick, unprotected 2024 first round pick, 2024 first round pick (via Golden State, top five protected), unprotected 2026 first round pick, unprotected 2028 first round pick, first round pick swaps in 2025, 2027, 2029
Grizzlies get: Luka Doncic
The Mavs would be loathe to trade Doncic to a divisional rival, but the Grizzlies have the capacity to make them an offer they can't refuse. While the Grizzlies can't offer the best immediate talent nor the most draft picks, they can probably provide the best combination of the two. Averaging 21.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game, Bane looks the part of a future All-Star, upping his production in each of his three seasons. Originally pegged as a shooting specialist ahead of the 2020 NBA Draft, Bane has steadily added to his game, blossoming into an all-around offensive weapon while maintaining his deadeye shooting. In terms of draft picks, the Mavs would receive four unprotected picks from Memphis, plus a sneakily juicy 2024 pick from the Warriors.
For the Grizzlies, this would be the ultimate all-in move for a front office that has previously built more slowly and deliberately. Still, a trio of Doncic, Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. would be positively game-breaking. Doncic and Morant would give Dallas potentially the two best guards in the entire NBA over the next five years; Jackson is about to win his first of many Defensive Player of the Year awards.