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'Pivotal' NBA Trade Deadline Coming for Mavs, Says Salary Cap Expert

The NBA trade deadline is coming up in less than three weeks, and according to one salary cap expert, it could be a pivotal one of the Dallas Mavericks' future.

The Dallas Mavericks have forged their way into 'stealth' contender status this season thanks in large part to the night-and-day difference they've had in their defense from this year compared to the last couple of years. However, Dallas still needs to make some upgrades to its current roster around superstar Luka Doncic if it wants to end a decade-long drought of not being able to win a playoff series.

On Saturday, HoopsHype's salary cap expert and consultant Yossi Gozlan joined the Mavs Film Room Podcast to talk about some of the most pressing issues the Mavs face with the NBA trade deadline less than three weeks away.

“It doesn’t feel like it (right now), but I do think this trade deadline is a lot more pivotal to the Mavs future than people would think," said Gozlan.

"It’s a lot easier to move on from your impending free agents than to re-sign them and deal with the finances later. If I had to guess, I think Dallas does make some trade involving at least one of (its) upcoming free agents.”

Jalen Brunson and Dorian Finney-Smith are the main two upcoming Mavs free agents being referred to there. Both Brunson and Finney-Smith have been playing well enough lately that Dallas would rather not have to trade them, according to a report from NBA reporter Marc Stein. However, unless the Mavs find a way to trade Tim Hardaway Jr.'s four-year, $72 million contract, it will be hard for them to keep both players.

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Mavs owner Mark Cuban hasn't paid the luxury tax in over a decade, so it's hard to believe that he'd break that streak to keep a roster together that has yet to get out of the first round of the playoffs. If the Mavs don't make any trades and gives Brunson and Finney-Smith what their market values figure to be, they could potentially be over $60 million into the luxury tax.

“The Mavs need to figure out if these will be positive value contracts going forward,” said Gozlan. “I would lower expectations a little bit on the return for either of (Brunson of Finney-Smith, due to the fact that other teams will need to be willing to pay them.)"

On the podcast, Gozlan also explores a possible Brunson trade to the New York Knicks that gets the Mavs their 2023 pick back and possibly Mitchell Robinson. His theory is that this would help the Mavs overcome the NBA's Stepien Rule restrictions that is preventing them from trading any first-round picks before 2025. Doing this particular deal with New York could allow the Mavs to trade their 2022 and 2024 first-round picks in a bigger deal if the opportunity arrises. Brunson's connection with the Knicks is something we've covered extensively at DallasBasketball.com.

You can listen to the entire conversation right here: