The Dallas Mavericks are nearly 48 hours removed from trading Kristaps Porzingis to the Washington Wizards for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans, and yet the shock factor still feels fresh to many.
Today, we rounded up the DallasBasketball.com staff to answer these questions: What is your initial reaction to this trade for the Mavs? What are the best and worst-case scenarios for Dinwiddie and Bertans?
Lance Roberson: Initially, I was genuinely shocked to see Kristaps Porzingis moved at the NBA trade deadline. For all the talk of how Porzingis was an All-Star and not movable, to see him sent off for two subpar pieces really indicated how much the Mavs wanted something different.
For the most part, I don't dislike the deal, as Spencer Dinwiddie definitely helps alleviate the usage of Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson. However, Davis Bertans is where I start to wince at the potential down-the-line implications. Ultimately, I think it's a wash of trade with Doncic’s superstar play being the equalizer.
Best-Case scenario, Dinwiddie and Bertans stay healthy, helping Dallas reach the second round for the first time 11 seasons; worst-case, Dinwiddie's ACL injury plagues him, causing him to miss games, and Bertans woeful shooting doesn't improve.
Mike Fisher: The Mavs get credit for swinging for the fence on the initial trade for KP. This deal is an admission of the truth: They struck out.
This trade also brings back, in terms of talent, 70 cents on the dollar. And, speaking of dollars, it’s in essence a double-salary dump.
Does it give Dallas some future cap flexibility? Sure. But that is a long-range play of the sort this franchise has done for a decade now - without any real payoff.
Grant Afseth: It's difficult to necessarily have a 'good' trade when the goal is to move on from a bad contract for a player like Kristaps Porzingis, who is having an underwhelming season, has an extensive injury history, and continues to struggle staying available to play.
There is a wide disparity between 'best' and 'worst' case scenario for the Mavericks with Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. It seems the goal is to add a key initiator for the bench unit in Dinwiddie while adding a shooter in Bertans to solve the needs they face.
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Now, the Mavericks can fully operate their half-court offense around Luka Doncic without having to work in opportunities for Porzingis and there's a real addition by subtraction element to that. A 7-foot-3 stretch-big that is shooting 28.3 percent from deep with inconsistent availability brings underwhelming impact. There's a decline in rim protection against teams with a drop coverage big, but teams playing spread basketball still hunted Porzingis on switches.
As for the trade return, Bertans is a defensive liability, poor rebounder, and has struggled a lot to convert in off-ball screening actions but has been efficient in spot-up situations. That's a lot of money to pay for a player that is unplayable if shots aren't dropping.
Dinwiddie has been described as being 'a shell of himself' after his ACL tear, and it's a gamble hoping that he turns things around. That said, I like Dinwiddie the more I watch his tape. I think people need to take into account he was often the top guy for the Wizards with Bradley Beal always out. So he’s had the focus of opposing defenses and the top defenders guarding him. Now, he will get to face bench talent in a better offensive system too.
Having two smaller bad contracts with the hope of at least one of them recovering some value to later be moved could be a middle ground for a best-case scenario.
Dalton Trigg: Given some of the things Mark Cuban has said in the past that look silly now - like stating that the Mavs would not trade KP - I understand why some rolled their eyes when he said Dinwiddie and Bertans will “surprise people” in my exclusive interview for DallasBasketball.com on Friday.
That said, though, things change. That’s the nature of the NBA. My guess is that Cuban really believed what he said about not trading Porzingis, but new general manager Nico Harrison was able to change his stance on it after assessing the situation for nearly 70 percent of this season.
As Grant pointed out, the pressure on Dinwiddie is about to drop immensely given that he’ll be facing more bench units now, and that’s only going to help him going forward. Even with his terrible shooting percentages this year, you can’t tell me Dinwiddie, who averages nearly six assists per game, won’t help this Mavs team more consistently than Trey Burke or Sterling Brown does.
If you look back through Bertans career, his three-point shooting has been awesome. He’s a 40 percent career shooter from deep, and until this season, the lowest he ever shot in that category was 37 percent with the San Antonio Spurs in 2017. That Bertans is shooting threes at a 31.9 percent clip this year seems like a major outlier to me. He may not be able to do anything else but shoot, but I believe his shooting will be much better in Dallas, especially if they focus on getting him more corner threes.
Best-case scenario, the Mavs end up looking smart for dealing KP when they did, and the newcomers help in getting them out of the first round of the playoffs this season while increasing their value going into the summer. Worst-case scenario, Dinwiddie and Bertans don’t help much at all, and then things just stay as they were, because Porzingis not playing around 40 percent of games didn’t help much either.