DALLAS - Long before the Dallas Mavericks faced off with the LA Clippers in the opening round of the 2021 NBA playoffs, Kristaps Porzingis was reportedly already finding himself being included in trade discussions.
According to Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer, the Mavericks approached the Warriors before the March trade deadline about a deal that was focused on Kristaps Porzingis and Kelly Oubre Jr.
Sources told B/R the Mavericks approached Golden State before the deadline on a structure that centered around Kristaps Porzingis, in exchange for Oubre. But that was a different regime, predating Dallas' recent changeover atop the franchise's basketball operations.
This is not the first time rumors have surfaced in regards to the Mavericks conducting a trade conversation with the Warriors centered around Porzingis. At the time, this was denied by Mavs owner Mark Cuban in a one-on-one with DallasBasketball.com. (See below.).
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But when considering how Cuban adamantly refuted reports about dysfunction within the organization prior to Donnie Nelson being fired and Rick Carlisle re-signing ... it's tough to take Cuban at his word - while at the same time understanding why the owner would "guard the truth'' on some matters.
If this rumor is true, then it shows the Mavericks felt as though trading Porzingis was the right move before his underwhelming performance in the playoffs. It would be all the more challenging to envision the team keeping him, if that's the case.
Regardless, not executing a trade for Kelly Oubre Jr. was a favorable outcome for the Mavericks. Oubre struggles to convert consistently as a catch-and-shoot threat and rarely looks to move the ball when he gets downhill to attack the rim. Not to mention, he's a mediocre-at-best defender.
For what it's worth, Oubre Jr. averaged 15.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.3 assists, but went an underwheling 43.9% from the field and 31.6% from beyond the arc. He isn't talented enough to warrant having the ball in his hands frequently as an initiator.
There will be better fits for the Mavericks to pursue in free agency or via trade this offseason. Making a change for the sake of making one is not the right approach to take. Moving Kristaps Porzingis in favor of Kelly Oubre Jr. would have classified as precisely that.