Back by the popular demand of pretty much only myself, it’s the second annual edition of Around the NBA in 15 Trades. We’re taking all 30 teams in the lead up to the Feb. 7 trade deadline and finding a happy middle ground for prosperous barterdom.
Dallas, mostly thanks to the meteoric ascension of Luka Dončić, find themselves friskily competitive. The Mavericks top brass are trying to build the team based on what fits best alongside Dončić, which explains why Dennis Smith Jr. — whom I found to be delightful — is on the block after only a season and a half in Big D.
Plenty of rumors currently circulate about exchanging him for the French Prince in New York, but Smith probably makes the most sense for a team like Orlando.
I have a better idea: How about a deal to get the Mavericks more role-playing wings and the Knicks that oh-so-sweet cleared cap sheet?
G/F, Wes Matthews; F/C Dwight Powell
G/F, Tim Hardaway Jr.; G/F, Courtney Lee; Charlotte’s 2nd round picks in 2020 and 2021
Why the Knicks do it:
With this deal, I do declare all New York business settled. The Knicks salary cap would be as pure as the driven snow.
Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee represent the last fiscally-significant holdovers of the former regime. The Hardaway Jr. signing was made in the nebulous time between Phil Jackson getting shown the door and finding his replacement.
It’s not Hardaway’s fault he’s got overpaid and overstretched in the current role the Knicks need him to commandeer. If anything, he’s played admirably in a lead scoring role when he’s better suited as a solid bench scorer or a tertiary option.
Why the Mavericks do it:
I’m assuming the Mavericks embody this meme at all times:
The major knock on Hardaway Jr. is his inefficiency. However, his percentages should get buoyed by the focus of being the main scorer taken off him. Hardaway’s also still just 26-years old. Lee’s been hurt most of the year, but when healthy, is a savvy 3-and-D vet.
Wes Matthews hasn’t looked like his former self, and in his age-32 season, makes for a valuable expiring contract. Dwight Powell’s super efficient big man with a lot of energy, but plays less than 17 minutes per game.
Dallas could certainly do worse than two useful wings and a pair of second rounders for their troubles.