DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks took down the Toronto Raptors during the NBA's Saturday slate by cruising to a 103-95 victory to even their record at 1-1.
Along the way, the elephant in the room (well, in the gym that is ....) remains:
Can executing a trade for Goran Dragic between these two teams still occur?
It was only one game, but regardless, in the season-opening loss at Atlanta, the Mavericks' offense showed a real need for a secondary creator alongside Luka Doncic. When Dallas tried to operate in the half-court with Doncic spacing out on the weak-side wing, the execution was rough — largely due to skill-set limitations of the supporting cast.
Meanwhile, it was only one game in Toronto, too, a place where Doncic friend and mentor Dragic does not want to be. But in this Raptors loss, the veteran played just 14 minutes, recording but two points.
Wouldn't all parties be happier with a change?
With Dragic, the Mavericks would have another shot-creation and playmaking threat who can run high-ball screens, operate out of a dribble handoff, or even attack a mismatch out in space out of isolation.
The Mavericks made it a point to try to attack Trae Young in the regular-season opener since he was deployed on Dorian Finney-Smith — giving up a significant height advantage. Between a few post-ups and off-ball screening actions, the results were poor. Doncic often was standing and watching low success rate sequences.
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Having to resort to hunting a small guard by taking the ball out of the superstar's hands and zapping the flow of the half-court offense isn't a great 'secondary' set of sequences to turn to for a team.
Not yet being able to trust a secondary scorer adds further complication to the situation. Posting up Kristaps Porzingis ended in troubling results and it's clear his best results will come being a complement playing off Doncic — not being viewed as an equal in the star-power department.
While Dragic wouldn't be a long-term answer, he could be a familiar stopgap option to bring the best out of Doncic. What would it take to get a deal done? The answer to that question has been complicated a bit by Tyrell Terry not sticking with the team and since being waived — giving the Mavericks one fewer trade-able asset.
The Raptors tend to rely on going small as a part of the team identity. Precious Achiuwa, who was acquired in the Kyle Lowry sign-and-trade, has shown intriguing flashes as a small-ball five. So that likely makes Moses Brown less appealing.
The most talented young player the Mavericks have to offer is Josh Green but moving on from a recent first-round pick may be a tough sell. Potentially getting off to a slow start to the season while adjusting to a new head coach makes the idea of giving up draft compensation less appealing, too.
The contract of Dwight Powell or Maxi Kleber would surely need to be included for salary-matching purposes. The Canadian native Powell has been slotted in as the starting center to begin the season with each of the main starters advocating for that decision. Would the Mavericks be willing to part with him?
There are more questions than answers when it comes to the possibility of the Mavericks executing a trade for Goran Dragic at this point.