DALLAS - The Dallas Mavericks may be done with their roster construction as training camp approaches. There is enthusiasm for a bounce-back season from Kristaps Porzingis but the need for a secondary ball-handler remains.
There are a variety of star players who still could end up being moved, whether before the season or prior to the trade deadline. Could there be an enticing option for the Mavericks to consider?
In a recent hypothetical trade package from Bleacher Report's Zack Buckley, the Portland Trail Blazers and Indiana Pacers would get together with the Mavericks to complete a three-team trade with a variety of starpower involved.
The Trail Blazers would receive Kristaps Porzingis as the sole player or asset in return while sending CJ McCollum to the Pacers. Meanwhile, the Mavericks would be sent Myles Turner, Jeremy Lamb, and a 2022 first-round pick (lottery protected, via Indy).
There is a key question that comes to mind when evaluating this scenario from the Mavericks' perspective, however. If all it took to acquire McCollum was Porzingis, wouldn't Dallas be better off doing a straight-up swap for him?
The Mavericks' main need entering the upcoming season is a secondary ball-handler and McCollum's dynamic scoring and playmaking ability certainly would check the necessary boxes.
Another factor to consider is that once Tim Hardaway Jr. is eligible to be traded after the recently signed players exception is lifted, the Mavericks could theoretically field a respectable trade package for the Trail Blazers to consider for McCollum without offering Porzingis.
Putting the McCollum element aside for a moment, there is plenty of benefit to the idea of adding Turner into the mix. Porzinigs shot better from beyond the arc on a higher volume of attempts while Turner's rim protection and general defensive impact are much greater.
When comparing Porzingis to Turner from a head-to-head perspective, the main factor in play is the price difference. Porzingis is set to earn $31.7 million in 2021-22 with annual raises that would have him at $36 million for his player option in 2023-24.
Mavs Camp Profile: Frank Ntilikina
Dallas Basketball continues its Mavs training camp series by discussing Frank Ntilikina's future with the Dallas Mavericks.
Mavs Film Room: What Ntilikina Brings Alongside Luka
The Dallas Mavericks recently signed former New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina. What will he bring alongside Luka Doncic?
Who are Eugene Omoruyi, JaQuori McLaughlin?
Dallas Basketball profiles Eugene Omoruyi and JaQuori McLaughlin.
Turner is locked in at $17.5 million for the next two seasons. Given the disparity in cost, there is a real case to be made for this particular deal from the Mavericks' perspective.
Keep in mind, Turner is a Dallas Fort-Worth native and it's probably a relatively safe assumption that he'd like to stick around town and receive passes from Doncic after the rest of his contract is finished in two years.
As for the other parts, Lamb would not help the Mavericks much but could be a stopgap option to provide more scoring off-the-bench until his $10.5 million expiring salary is off the books.
Adding a first-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft from the Pacers would be a solid asset to have since they likely would remain a relatively middling Eastern Conference team with McCollum.
There are concerns from the Trail Blazers' perspective associated with moving McCollum in exchange for Porzingis. Other teams around the NBA make more sense as a Porzingis landing spot when constructing hypothetical deals when cons
This is an interesting hypothetical trade to evaluate. The Mavericks would gain a more financially sound option at the center position but a need for a secondary ball-handler would remain.
The Pacers would likely view this deal favorably by adding McCollum. Indiana needs to choose an identity and stick with it when it comes to having two big men as key players. T.J. Warren remaining sidelined indefinitely with stress fractures complicates the short-term nature of this possibility.
Meanwhile, the Trail Blazers would be left with more questions than answers after adding Porzingis to a team that already struggles defensively. Would Damian Lillard view this as the right move to contend for a title? Probably not.
The ongoing Goran Dragic saga remains the top potential move to monitor for the Mavericks. However, the near $10.9 million trade exception presents some alternative options to pursue, too.