The Dallas Mavericks are certainly happy with their offseason roster improvements, but don’t expect the front office to become complacent anytime soon.
"You know that we're always opportunistic and out there," said GM Donnie Nelson on our Mavs Step Back Podcast, just two days before being opportunistic and flipping Seth Curry for Josh Richardson and Tyler Bey during the NBA Draft.
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"That being said," Nelson continued, "We do like our young core. We like what these guys have done, and the direction the team is going. Obviously, with Mark (Cuban) as our boss, we're always capable of a big deal. Looking at the (NBA) landscape, we like the steps that we're taking."
Although the Mavs had a very successful draft night, there were still some more steps taken in the following days, as Dallas traded away both Delon Wright and Justin Jackson in a three-way trade that netted them tough veteran forward James Johnson. The Mavs then retained Trey Burke and Willie Cauley-Stein in free agency, and also signed a young defensive-minded wing in Wes Iwundu.
On paper, and on the actual court, as we saw in the preseason, the Mavs got better, but as Nelson has told us in the past, 'better' is never good enough.
"We want to be as good as we can be ... yesterday," said Nelson. "We're always working phones, looking for every angle."
Could one of those angles potentially involve Indiana Pacers players Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner?
With Giannis Antetokounmpo opting to sign his supermax contract to stay with the Milwaukee Bucks, effectively ending our Giannis-to-Dallas pipedream, we've taken some time on Mavs Step Back Podcast to talk about what could be next for the Mavs.
The idea of adding both Oladipo and Turner would accomplish a handful of things for the Mavs, including:
*Dallas could potentially land that "third star'' in Oladipo, should he be able to stay healthy.
*The Mavs would continue to improve their roster defensively, while also retaining offensive flexibility. At this point in his career, Turner has become an underrated stretch-big, and he would fit nicely at power forward with Kristaps Porzingis at center. (It so happens that Dallas coach Rick Carlisle is a Turner fan.)
*Dallas could make the 'big splash' well in advance of free agency, something most Mavs fans would love to see, given how free agency has gone for them historically
There's still plenty of time to discuss this particular trade scenario in more depth as the season progresses, but for now, we think a potential trade package for both Oladipo and Turner would look something like ...
Tim Hardaway, Jr., either James Johnson or Dwight Powell, a young player on the roster, and some future draft compensation.
People who like this current Mavs roster, including the Mavs front office themselves, might think that's giving up a little too much for Oladipo, who will enter unrestricted free agency in the summer. (That free agency is one of the reasons Indy might be willing to listen to whatever offer.)
But in our opinion, a deal of this kind would be a home run for the Mavs, especially if Oladipo looks like the Oladipo from two seasons ago.
"We really, really are optimistic, and we like the path of building with (youth)," said Nelson. "But if there ever comes a time, whether it's today, next summer, or whenever, to get that over-the-top piece, we're certainly going to have to look hard at it."
Would the combination of Oladipo and Turner fit Nelson's description of being an 'over-the-top' move, so much so that the Mavs would be willing to part ways with highly-valued culture guys like Hardaway Jr. or Powell?
We'll get a more clear answer to that question as this season rolls along, but for now, count us in on thinking this could be the NBA trade deadline move to vault the Mavs into the league's top tier of teams - assuming they're not already there.