NBA Trade Reaction: Mavs - Short on Bigs - Make Two Swaps, Get Center Willie Cauley-Stein

Mike Fisher

Shortly after the season-ending loss to injury of Dwight Powell, the Dallas Mavericks spent a justifiable moment in mourning before turning their attention to the business of manipulating their way to a replacement.

“Well,'' coach Rick Carlisle said on Thursday night, “We are running out of big men.”

Rick called it "a new reality.'' But a day later? Well, it's a "new-new reality,'' as suddenly on Friday the Mavs engineered a pair of NBA trades, culminating in the cupboard having been restocked with the acquisition of center Willy Cauley-Stein.

The 7-foot, 240-pound Cauley-Stein has been laboring for the woeful Warriors while averaging 7.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game with the Warriors during the 2019-20 season, appearing in 41 games and making 37 starts.

But during his time with the Sacramento Kings, he showed the ability to be a 10/7 guy - which is why, at 26, the Warriors thought him just promising enough to sign him a two-year $4.5 million contract (second year a player option.)

The Mavs acquisition cost them a second-round pick but not THE prized pick that originally belonged to the Warriors in the 2020 NBA Draft. Instead it’s another second rounder (originally belonging to Utah) that is shipped to The Bay.

Part of the Friday shuffle also included the giveaway of Isaiah Roby to OKC for G-League center Justin Patton, a move that was simply about clearing room for the bigger deal that was already in motion. (Patton will be waived.)

Dallas of course has no problem using Kristaps Porzingis at the 5. And Maxi Kleber and Boban Marjanovic are also helpers there. 

With the trade deadline looming on February 6, the Mavericks are not necessarily done chasing talent. What they’ve done here now is give up very little for a player in Cauley-Stein who is affordable (those are minimum-wage dollars), has starting experience, comes with virtually no downside ... and maybe wanted to be here all along?

The Mavs bet: WCS just might find needed inspiration playing for a contender in the first time in his pro career since being the No. 6 player taken in the 2015 NBA Draft.