DALLAS - We know that as the NBA’s trade deadline of 2 p.m. Thursday approaches, the Dallas Mavericks have received calls on Kristaps Porzingis and Dorian Finney-Smith. We know that Maxi Kleber and James Johnson have been discussed. And the rumors of Jalen Brunson being trade bait are out there, too.
READ MORE: Mavs NBA Trade Deadline Tracker
We also know, via our one-on-one visit with owner Mark Cuban, that Dallas is interested in a "game-changer star.''
Who are potential in-coming matches for the Mavericks? Here in Mavs Donuts, our top 12 candidates ...
DONUT 1: John Collins, Atlanta Hawks. He's 18.3 points and eight rebounds per, a 23-year-old who will be a restricted free agent in the summer. The 6-9 forward will be a Dallas target then ... and he's a Dallas target now.
DONUT 2: Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards. He is a 32-points-per-game pipedream. He doesn't want out of there (for some reason) and the Wiz don't want to give him up (for obvious reasons). But Dallas simply has to make the call. And yes, it'd be cool if he formed a "Big 3'' here with Luka Doncic and KP, but know two things: One, he wouldn't be the "third star'' - he'd be the "first star.'' And two, you might have to give up KP to get him.
Which Dallas, if given the opportunity, should do.
DONUT 3: Goran Dragic, Miami Heat. This is the easiest call on the board if Miami wishes to part with him. This is Luka's big brother. Wanna keep Dallas' roster "Luka-friendly'' so you keep Doncic happy? This is that move.
DONUT 4: Evan Fournier, Orlando Magic. He's having a fine year (19.1 points) when healthy ... but the groin problem has caused him to miss almost half of Orlando's games. But this would be a move for now (Dallas is already talking about taking on Fournier at $17 million in this final year of his contract in exchange for James Johnson’s expiring $15.9 million contract and two second-rounders) ... and for later, as the idea would be to re-sign Fournier in the summer.
DONUT 5: Wayne Ellington, Detroit Pistons. The old Mavs friend is a designated shooter who is scoring 10.6 points per. It's worth a mention, especially as he played here in 2013-14. But remember what Cuban told us about "not just trading a player for the sake of trading''?
To us, that's what Ellington represents.
DONUT 6: J.J. Redick, New Orleans Pelicans. Similar set-up here. Redick, 36, scores nine points per game. ... and that's about all he does. Dallas gave up Seth Curry in the offseason trade for Josh Richardson and wishes it could replace some of the perimeter offense it lost in the swap, though, which puts ideas like this into play.
DONUT 7: Andre Drummond, Cleveland Cavaliers. I know, I know. You hate the idea. But I've tried to explain that the Mavs don't hate it as much as you do, and they are in discussions with the Cavs for the 27-year-old "relic'' who gives you 17 points and 14 rebounds per game.
The Mavericks are too poor at rebounding to thumb their noses at this idea. Yes, he's got a $28 million contract. But it's expiring, and it's no more troublesome than James Johnson's contract, and regarding "fit''? If Drummond can eventually "fit'' on another contender via buyout, he can "fit'' here.
DONUT 8: Malcolm Brogdon, Indiana Pacers. A player who Dallas has liked in the past ... but there are injury risks here.
DONUT 9: Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers. This is going to seem odd to Mavs fans who haven't seen much of the 6-11 two-time All-Star, but he's averaging 20/11/6. I mean, he's kind of "The Unicorn,'' you know?
(Sidebar: It so happens that Mavs coach Rick Carlisle is a fan of Myles Turner as well. So the Pacers are a team to watch here.)
DONUT 10: Norman Powell, Toronto Raptors. A 27-year-old late bloomer who is scoring 19.5 points as a guard/wing. The Raptors seem like sellers ... though as Powell could be free this summer, Dallas might wait to be a buyer.
DONUT 11: Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic. His numbers are good (14.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists) and he can play defense. And maybe he knows that he's not long for Orlando, as our guys wonder if he's "checked out.'' The Mavericks have always liked Gordon, who is repped by the same agent, Bill Duffy, as Luka. ... so more "Luka-friendly.''
But this one would be pricy. Probably too pricy.
DONUT 12: Victor Oladipo, Houston Rockets. He's at 20.8 points per for a Rockets team that can't win, and he'll probably wish to escape there after this season via his expiring contract. Would Houston sell low? Would Oladipo pledge to re-sign with Dallas?
BONUS DONUT 13: Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings. He is of the highest quality as a person and he is an even better player than he was in his first turn in Dallas. Barnes would be a solid "third star'' type.
If Sacto is having a fire sale ...
BONUS DONUT 14: Buddy Hield, Sacramento Kings. Well, if Sacto is having a fire sale, Dallas should probably try this one, too. Hield (17 points per) can shoot and create from the perimeter, has an attractive long-term contract, and has long made noises of dissatisfaction with his Kings role.
In the offseason, Hield is a Dallas guy. Maybe the Mavs should make that a year-round arrangement.