Three Players the Dallas Mavericks Should Target

Fred VanVleet of Toronto is a prime candidate for a Dallas Mavericks' trade

The NBA trade deadline looms closer by the day, and the Dallas Mavericks are yet to make a move. After losing both Kristaps Porziņģis and Jalen Brunson in 2022, fans have been begging the Mavs front office to sign a second star. Dallas needs to improve their roster if they want to keep superstar Luka Dončić around, and there’s no shortage of options for them to consider.

Three Players the Dallas Mavericks Should Target

John Collins

It’s no secret that the Mavs’ starting lineup is in desperate need of an upgrade at the power forward position. Dallas could really use a big man who can efficiently convert Luka Dončić’s incredible passes into points. If they want to make a deep playoffs push, they need someone who can defend against the NBA’s biggest stars.

That’s where John Collins could come in handy. Although he is in the middle of his worst season since his rookie year, he’s proven his worth on both ends of the floor, with career averages of 16.1 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Last season, his offensive rating was top 20 in the NBA. However, the 2019-20 season was when he really shined. He averaged 21.6 points and 10.1 rebounds a game and cracked the top 10 in field goal percentage and true shooting percentage. If Collins can fill the hole left by Kristaps Porziņģis in terms of rebounding, defending in the paint, and setting screens for Dončić, the Mavs might be able to find their way back to the top of the Western Conference this season.

Fred VanVleet

Ever since Jalen Brunson left Dallas, the Mavericks have lacked a second playmaker. Relying on Dončić to run the entire offense will wear him out and increase his likelihood of injury. One name that’s been on many Mavs fans’ minds is Fred VanVleet. The 28-year-old is currently averaging 19.2 points, 6.5 assists, and 4.3 rebounds a game. He can create shots for his teammates, too: he’s currently top 2o in the NBA in assists per game and total assists. VanVleet can also take care of things on the defensive end. He is currently 10th in the league in both steals per game and total steals. He even made the All-Star team last season. If he can do it again in Dallas, he will be Dončić’s first All-Star teammate.

The 6’1″ point guard could also bring insight from his time playing in (and winning) the NBA Championship. He contributed significantly to the Raptors’ Finals win in 2019, averaging 14 points on 40% 3-point shooting. His experience could prove to be invaluable if the Mavs manage to find their way to basketball’s biggest stage. Dallas’s current roster completely lacks championship experience, so VanVleet could be a crucial asset come playoff time. He has proven himself to be a critical part of a championship-winning roster in the past, and with Dončić, he might just get the chance to do so again.

D’Angelo Russell (and Naz Reid)

Speculators have not mentioned D’Angelo Russell as much as they’ve mentioned others. Nonetheless, he might fit in very well in Dallas. The Timberwolves point guard is currently averaging 17.8 points and 6.2 assists a game on 46% field goal shooting. A swap involving Mavs guard Tim Hardaway Jr. could result in a significant guard upgrade for the Mavs. 

However, trading for Russell still doesn’t solve the perennial defense problem in Dallas. That’s where including Naz Reid in the package could round out the Mavs roster. Since current Mavs center Dwight Powell would likely be sent to the Wolves in the trade to fill the gap left by Reid in Minnesota, Dallas would essentially be replacing Powell with Reid. The 6’9″ big is currently averaging more points, assists, rebounds, and blocks per game than Powell, all while playing around a minute less per game. He cracked the top 15 in total blocks in the 2019-20 season, proving himself to be a top defender in the NBA. He is also eight years younger, which may make him more valuable for the Mavs’ future. While DLo is the centerpiece of this trade scenario, adding Reid could check off a lot of boxes for Dallas.

The Need for a Trade

With every passing game, it’s becoming more apparent how desperately the Dallas Mavericks need a second star to take the load off of Luka. Thursday’s game against New Orleans was a prime example: when Dončić’s heel injury forced him to exit the game with 6:47 left in the third quarter, the Mavs led 84-56. By the time the final buzzer sounded, however, the Mavs had won by just five points. Dončić is certainly talented enough to consistently carry his team to wins; however, he is not invincible. Dallas cannot expect anything to change for the better if they are not willing to upgrade the roster. They must make a move, and quickly.