“Absolutely. There’s no question,” said Dallas Mavericks GM Nico Harrison on the Mavs Step Back Podcast when asked about the Kristaps Porzingis trade opening up bigger trade possibilities going forward.
“We’ve been saying it gives us depth and flexibility, and the flexibility comes in different ways. Not just with your roster, but with potential moves down the road.”
Could the next big opportunity for the Mavs to add a superstar player next to Luka Doncic be dependent on how the Chicago Bulls finish out their season? More specifically, could Zach LaVine leave the Windy City if his team makes a much earlier postseason exit than anticipated?
Spencer Dinwiddie has surpassed all expectations for the Mavs since coming over from the Wizards.
Dinwiddie hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer as the Mavs beat the Nets 113-111 last week.
As good as the Mavs have been since trading Kristaps Porzingis, the team still needs to put a true secondary star next to Doncic.
The Bulls, who knocked last offseason out of the park by acquiring DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso, were in first place in the Eastern Conference at the All-Star break before things started going downhill. Since then, Chicago has gone 3-8 and fallen within 1.5 games of the Play-In Tournament.
LaVine, who is set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, is averaging 24.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game while shooting 48 percent from the field and 39.5 percent from 3-point range. After making $19.5 million per year on his current contract, LaVine will be looking for a max contract this summer. Whether the Bulls are willing to accommodate that or not is still uncertain.
“Free agency is gonna be a big milestone for me,” said LaVine in an interview with Yahoo Sports. “It's my first time going into it really being [an] unrestricted free agent. … Moving forward, it's gonna be a whole new experience for me.”
LaVine could sign with a new team for four years and $160 million, or he could potentially re-sign with the Bulls for five years and north of $200 million… if they even decide to offer him that much.
“I know it's a different front office, a different time,” said LaVine, who has greatly out-performed his current contract. “I'm gonna take it day by day and let my agent handle it. But I remember everything. It's something — I always have a chip on my shoulder for multiple reasons.”
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Doncic defends LaVine in the corner.
Doncic attempts to block LaVine on a drive.
Doncic recently stated that all he cares about is winning an NBA championship.
With the Bulls already being capped out with their current roster and DeRozan assuming the team’s top-player role as an MVP candidate this season, perhaps LaVine getting max money from Chicago isn’t a sure thing.
“I think we all get what we deserve at the level we play at,” said LaVine. “I think I stack up with everybody at [this] level. We’ll let the chips fall. Is the [max] the goal? I don’t know if it’s the goal, but I should be getting what I deserve.
“I’ll let [the Bulls] tell me what that is and we’ll go from there.”
As well as Luka Doncic has played through his first four seasons, he deserves to experience what it’s like to play with a true secondary superstar teammate. We know it, Mark Cuban knows it, Harrison knows it — everybody knows it.
“I don’t know that there’s an ideal [star] player [to pair with Doncic],” said Harrison. “I really think that if you have the opportunity to bring in another amazing player to play alongside Luka [Doncic], they could be any position. Great players figure it out.”
Maybe this Bulls situation could manifest that next big opportunity in the offseason — and if it does, it would most-likely have to be in a sign-and-trade situation.
As summertime approaches, maybe Doncic and LaVine can both get what they truly deserve.