DALLAS - When it comes to NBA trade ideas, many of us tend to hear what and how we want to hear. So it is with coach Rick Carlisle's recent appearance on 105.3 The Fan with "G-Bag Nation.'' in which he either poured water, or gasoline, on the idea of a Dallas Mavericks deadline trade.
On the one hand, when the fellas asked Rick about a specific need for help in the front court, the coach answered that he does not see a big man rebounding as such a pressing need that it will figure to accelerate Dallas' trade-deadline pursuit of that sort of player.
On the other hand ...
"You know Mark and Donnie,'' Carlisle added. "These guys are gunslingers. They're riverboat gamblers, and they're ready to talk about anything that would get the team better."
How is that remark, or rather, the combination of those two remarks, to be taken? Is Carlisle pooh-poohing the idea of a trade? Or hinting at one?
Rick's history says he's not much of a "hinter'' in these circumstances. Rick's history says that he annually touts the ability and willingness of owner Mark Cuban and GM Donnie Nelson to aggressively pursue, execute and win deadline deals.
Well, Dallas was electrically active before and on the February 2019 deadline. They got the Knicks to agree to a trade that sent Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke here in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr., two future first-round picks, and the expiring contracts of DeAndre Jordan and Wes Matthews.
Later, they traded Harrison Barnes to the Sacramento Kings from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Justin Jackson and change in a future cap-room move.
But in February 2018, the "big move'' was Doug McDermott.
In February 2017, the big move (in terms of organizational effort, though it did not work) was Nerlens Noel.
In February 2010, Josh Howard was dealt to Washington as part of a package that brought Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stephenson.
In February 2008 came the trade involving Devin Harris that brought Jason Kidd from the Nets.
So, Dallas has made a few big "big deadline trades.'' (That seem magnified especially as they built a roster that won a title.)
The Mavs' reputation as "gunslingers and gamblers'' comes in part from the Porzingis deal, but mostly it's about the creativity displayed a decade ago and two decades ago, and not really at the winter deadline - though the 2002 blockbuster that brought Raef LaFrentz and Nick Van Exel (and Avery Johnson) here from Denver in exchange for Juwan Howard and more was a big swing.
A big swing from 20 years ago.
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The truth? Carlisle is suggesting nothing here. We are left hoping that the organization can survey the landscape and maybe judge that this Luka Doncic-led roster isn't good enough to compete at the highest level, and that "gunslinging and gambling'' is a worthy approach as we approach the March 25 deadline.
But let's not confuse what Cuban and Donnie have done with what they will do. Without surveying the 20-year history of 30 NBA teams, we're betting that the Dallas Mavericks, reputation aside, don't really make more deadline deals than most any other club.
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