Unsurprisingly, Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic is well aware he needs help now, and he has reportedly been making that fact known to the organization in recent weeks.
While Doncic is having one of his greatest years yet, no one has filled the void left by the now-New York Knicks star Jalen Brunson as the top secondary option. It has led to inconsistency and a team fighting just to stay a few games over .500.
To the surprise of no one, that has led to some frustration for Luka Doncic. On Wednesday, ESPN NBA insider Tim McMahon reported that “Sources said Doncic, who hasn’t shown a desire to be involved in personnel matters in the past, has strongly indicated he wants the Dallas Mavericks to upgrade before the Feb. 9 trade deadline.”
There could be several difference-makers available at the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 9 — varying from rental players to disgruntled All-Stars on disappointing teams. In any potential deal, Spencer Dinwiddie, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dorian Finney-Smith are the players the Mavs would likely need to send in return to make the money work.
However, it is unclear what those players’ value is around the league. Dallas may also need to include future draft picks in 2024, 2025, 2026 or 2027 in a move. That is risky for players not signed for next season. With that in mind, let’s take a look at four players the team could target to get Doncic some help in the postseason.
The Chicago Bulls have been a massive disappointment in 2022-23. The All-Star combo of DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine has lacked chemistry this season, and the absence of Lonzo Ball has been similarly damaging to Chicago as Brunson leaving has been for Dallas.
Both DeRozan and LaVine could be traded. However, the 15-year veteran would be more likely, since the team just invested in LaVine long-term in the offseason. DeRozan would certainly give the Dallas Mavericks a secondary scorer upgrade and is a player with a lot of playoff experience.
Detroit Pistons star Bojan Bogdanovic is one of the most likely players to get dealt at this year’s NBA trade deadline. He is also one of the most sought-after talents on the market, which means Dallas would have a great deal of competition for his services.
The 10-year veteran is having one of the best seasons of his career and would be a solid scoring upgrade at a cheaper cost than DeRozan. However, Bogdanovic is having a career year just in time for a jump into NBA free agency this summer.
Kyle Kuzma is another impending free agent who will draw a lot of interest ahead of the trade deadline. The 27-year-old is having his best season as a professional and offers more tools than just being a talented scorer. He brings size at 6-foot-9 and helps give them a better-scoring small-ball frontcourt for possible playoff matchups with New Orleans, Denver and Sacramento.
Minnesota Timberwolves point guard D’Angelo Russell reportedly has been on the trade block for months. However, his play and paycheck have made it difficult to move him. With half of the final year of his contract paid, there could be more serious suitors at the deadline.
The one-time All-Star might be a low-risk, high-reward move for the Mavs to see if they can recapture the magic that Doncic and Brunson had as a duel point guard backcourt with the nine-year veteran.
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