Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, NBA

NBA Trade Grades: Mavericks pick up Willie Cauley-Stein

The Dallas Mavericks have agreed to trade for Golden State Warriors center Willie Cauley-Stein in an effort to address their frontcourt depth. Here are NBA Trade Grades for both sides.

The 2020 NBA Trade Deadline is less than two weeks away, and the action is already starting to heat up.

As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi initially reported Friday, the Dallas Mavericks are making a move to shore up their frontcourt rotation after losing big man Dwight Powell to a season-ending Achilles tear.

The Athletic‘s Shams Charania provided the exact details, as the Mavs will acquire Willie Cauley-Stein from the Golden State Warriors in exchange for a 2020 second-round pick (via the Utah Jazz).

Per ESPN’s Bobby Marks, Dallas will waive center Justin Patton — also acquired on Friday in a minor trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder — to make room for Cauley-Stein.

Mavericks Get

Willie Cauley-Stein

Warriors Get

2020 2nd-round pick (via Jazz)

With the latest trade agreement crossing our radars, it’s time to hand out NBA Trade Grades for both sides in order to sort this latest deal out.

Golden State Warriors

The Dubs have suffered through an injury-ravaged season, still missing Klay Thompson from the torn ACL he sustained in last year’s NBA Finals and missing Stephen Curry for all but four games due to a hand injury. At 10-36 entering Friday night’s action, the Warriors are clearly not going to make a late push for the playoffs, even if the Splash Brothers both return after the All-Star break.

To that end, it makes more sense for Golden State to start shipping off assets, planning ahead for the future and creating more flexibility for the summer — even if Willie Cauley-Stein has been one of their most consistent and healthiest contributors in a lost season.

WCS has started 37 of his 41 games for the Dubs, but with a $2.3 million player option for next season, his departure frees up two roster spots and precious cap space for the upcoming offseason, and it reduces the team’s luxury tax bill as well:

Between D’Angelo Russell, Eric Paschall, Jordan Poole, Omari Spellman, Ky Bowman and the recovering Kevon Looney, the Dubs have plenty of young players to evaluate. Cauley-Stein was playing well enough, but certainly hadn’t cemented himself as a cost-effective pillar for the future. To that end, upcoming flexibility is a welcome addition, even at the low price of what will likely be a late second-rounder.

Grade: B-

Dallas Mavericks

Willie Cauley-Stein is no Dwight Powell, but as a rim-running big man and alley-oop threat, he should be a seamless fit in Rick Carlisle‘s offense. Luka Doncic is one of the NBA’s premier table-setters for alley-oops, and Cauley-Stein will quickly reap the benefits.

In his 41 games for Golden State, WCS has averaged 7.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks a night. He’s shot 56 percent from the floor, and according to NBA.com, 99 of his 144 made field goals this season have come on either alley-oops or dunks. He’s shooting an extremely tidy 72.8 percent from inside the restricted area, so even if he just operates as a diving lob threat, he’ll be helping the Mavs out.

Cauley-Stein may not replace Powell’s 9.4 points per game on 63.8 percent shooting, but he’s a better rebounder and was about as good as Dallas was going to find on the market of replacement-level centers — especially at such a low cost of an extra second-rounder.

The Mavs are acquiring their new big man with the $11.7 million trade exception created from the Harrison Barnes trade, and they should be happy with their new acquisition. He won’t change the dynamic of the playoff picture out West, but it’s good the Mavs are both addressing a position of need to make sure their young superstar can adequately prepare for his first NBA postseason while also not selling the farm in order to do so.

Grade: B+

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