Mark Cuban's Dallas Mavericks are likely to trade their first-round pick. (Noah Graham/Getty Images)
The Dallas Mavericks are likely to trade the No. 13 pick in the NBA Draft to help free cap space to pursue Dwight Howard, reports The Dallas Morning News' Eddie Sefko.
Dallas is being careful to leave enough cap space to offer a max contract to Howard - or possibly another top free agent, like the Clippers' Chris Paul. The No. 13 pick would come with a $1.7 million salary, which would force Dallas to make other moves to keep enough cap space clear, Sefko reports. The most likely maneuvers would be a trade of veterans Vince Carter or Shawn Marion, something Dallas doesn't want to do.
One source told Sefko that there is an 80 percent chance the Mavericks move the pick. There's a 15 percent chance Dallas takes an international player. If the player stayed overseas next season, he wouldn't count against the salary cap. But this possibility took a hit when Dario Saric, the top international player in the draft, withdrew on Tuesday. SI.com's Chris Mannix had the Croatian forward going to Dallas in his Mock Draft 2.0.
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The source also told Sefko there's a 5 percent chance that, if one of the top players slips to No. 13, Dallas drafts him and uses him as a trade chip.
The Mavericks finished 41-41 this season. They don't have a ton of young talent, so trading the pick would be a gamble. Mark Cuban said a couple weeks ago that Dallas has a two-year plan
to become a "great" team. With Dirk Nowitzki getting older, this might be their best shot to become a title contender again.