The Dallas Mavericks and Washington Wizards made sure the James Harden deal wasn’t the only blockbuster of the NBA trade deadline. Dallas sent over Kristaps Porzingis and a protected second-round pick to Washington in return for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. The Porzingis experiment may have never worked in Dallas, although the Mavericks still failed the trade deadline with this move.
The Dallas Mavericks Fail the Trade Deadline
Porzingis was brought to Dallas to forge the league’s next dynasty alongside Luka Doncic. The European duo looked elite on paper and were both not yet in their primes. This season Porzingis is averaging 19 points and eight boards a game and is looking more like the New York Knicks version of himself on defense.
At the end of the day, the Porzingis experiment did not work as it seemed as if the Latvian big man spent more time off the court than on it. The most important trait in the NBA is availability, something Porzingis did not provide. More than that, the Mavericks weren’t much different in terms of record or advanced stats when Porzingis played with Doncic versus not playing.
Constant injuries, paired with a massive contract, ultimately forced the Mavericks’ hand. It’s not a major surprise that they were shopping Porzingis, but the return they had was subpar at best. Dallas has the league’s brightest star in Doncic, and although he’s tied up to the franchise for the foreseeable future, the team cannot waste his talent.
A Poor Return for the Dallas Mavericks
Dinwiddie and Bertans. This duo doesn’t spark up excitement. Dinwiddie is averaging about 13 points, six assists, and five rebounds per game. He’s also shooting very poorly at 38 percent from the field and 31 percent from deep. He’ll get paid $18 million next season, and has at least $10 million guaranteed for 2023/24.
Before digging into Bertans’ stats, let’s take a look at his contract. He’s owed $16 million next season and $17 million the season after. Of course, that’s quite the sum for a player averaging 5.7 points per game. He earned his money off of his reputation as a flamethrower shooter, but he’s shooting 32 percent from deep this season.
Dinwiddie can very well improve and bring some excitement to the Dallas backcourt. With that said, he’s behind the pecking order of Doncic and Jalen Brunson. If anything, he can ease the burden of losing Tim Hardaway Jr. for a couple of months. Backcourt help, however, looked to potentially be solved by a certain buyout candidate.
Realistically, Bertans should become better in the Mavericks’ offense. He’ll find open threes with Doncic on the court, and his percentage should go up. This, of course, isn’t a guarantee. Even if this happens, and Bertans possibly averages early double-digits, he remains a major liability on defense. Dallas is a defensive powerhouse this season, so it’s risky to have players out there who may not contribute to that.
All in all, Dallas traded away the best player involved in this deal for two players who will come off the bench. More than that, these two players aren’t giving Dallas financial flexibility this offseason. This is a major concern, as Brunson enters unrestricted free agency. He’s a perfect piece next to Doncic and a player the Mavericks must prioritize keeping, but that will prove to be difficult. The good news, at least, is that the Mavericks were able to extend Dorian Finney-Smith.
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