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Dallas Mavericks 2016-17 Season Preview

Basketball Insiders previews the 2016-17 season for the Dallas Mavericks.

Basketball Insiders



Since winning an NBA title in 2011, the Dallas Mavericks have made the playoffs in four out of five seasons, but have yet to advance past the first round.

The Mavericks are hopeful their offseason acquisitions of Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut will help the franchise progress towards deeper postseason success. The team also re-signed Dirk Nowitzki, Deron Williams and Dwight Powell, while bringing in free agents Seth Curry and Quincy Acy.

Both Chandler Parsons and Zaza Pachulia have moved on, with Barnes and Bogut brought in as replacements — upgrades, the Mavericks hope.

With Rick Carlisle on the bench, Dallas is very well coached. The team is stocked with quality veteran players. Provided they stay healthy, the Mavericks should once again make the playoffs. While a second-round appearance is not out of the question, they’re not on the same echelon as teams like the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs.


The Mavericks made some big changes this offseason – the biggest being the signing of small forward Harrison Barnes to a four-year, $94.4 million contract. I’m generally on board with paying above market value in order to sign a young player who still has significant room to improve. However, even with an inflated salary cap, this is a lot of money for a player with a career 11.1 Player Efficiency Rating and an 8.6 PER for last season. Sure, Barnes’ numbers could jump up now that he won’t be sharing the court with several star players like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, but even when he was featured more heavily on offense he failed to show that he could be a primary option on another team. Despite the obvious concerns with Barnes, adding him and Andrew Bogut and bringing back Deron Williams gives the Mavericks a lot of experienced veterans to work with. The Mavericks don’t have elite talent, but with Rick Carlisle running the show, they could make some noise in the Western Conference this upcoming season — though it’s unlikely that they’ll be in the mix to win the championship.

2nd Place – Southwest Division

– Jesse Blancarte

Dallas walked away from their extensive offseason efforts with a couple of former Golden State Warriors players to make up for losing out on yet another crop of elite free agents. Harrison Barnes came at a hefty price, but he and Andrew Bogut should help Dallas hold court as one of the West’s toughest outs, just as they were a year ago. Dirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams are a year older, but there’s still a ton of talent on the team and Rick Carlisle is still the head coach. They’re not winning a ring, but they shouldn’t be a top lottery team, either.

3rd Place – Southwest Division

– Joel Brigham

The Mavericks powered through to another playoff appearance last season, but sooner or later they won’t have the luxury of riding the back of future Hall of Fame forward Dirk Nowitzki. Dallas has had a tough time acquiring another superstar talent to usher in the next phase of Mavericks basketball, but did lock in forward Harrison Barnes in free agency to a four-year deal worth nearly $100 million. Barnes has always had the “potential” halo attached to his name, but in Dallas he’ll get a chance to break out of the shadow of being a role player and jump into a more prominent role. We know Dallas is going to be a well-coached and mentally tough bunch, but the franchise is relying on Nowitzki to do much of the heavy lifting, which limits their ceiling.

4th Place – Southwest Division

– Lang Greene

I like what the Mavericks did this summer. They always seem to be in the right place at the right time. Now, as long as Dirk Nowitzki doesn’t subject us to a season-long retirement the way that Kobe Bryant did, I’ll be happy. As the sun sets on arguably the greatest international player in NBA history, the days of competing for championships in Dallas are over, but that doesn’t mean the future is bleak.

With Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut joining Wesley Matthews, the Mavericks have a semblance of a nucleus. I have known Barnes for a few years and know how tough being demoted in favor of Andre Iguodala was for him a few years ago. His relatively poor showing during the Finals is likely to drive him to want to prove that he belongs and that he has the type of potential that everyone saw in him when he was coming out of North Carolina.  As for Bogut, he is truly an impactful player and one of the best passing centers the league has seen. Bogut has had health concerns, but he and Barnes’ true contributions flew under the radar in Oakland. Now, in Dallas, I expect that they will help push the Mavericks back toward the top of the division – just not this season. Even without Tim Duncan, nobody will threaten the Spurs in the Southwest. But after them? There’s no reason to think the Mavs won’t be playing meaningful games well into the Spring.

2nd Place – Southwest Division

– Moke Hamilton

I think the Mavericks find themselves in the same position they’ve been in over the last few years – talented enough to make the playoffs, but not good enough to legitimately contend for a championship. I think it was smart of them to grab Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut, but there are still a lot of question marks surrounding this team when you look at the injury history of their players, their collective age and how the pieces fit together. I expect Dallas to make the playoffs once again, but I’m not sure they can make any serious noise once they get to the postseason.

3rd Place – Southwest Division

– Alex Kennedy


Top Offensive Player: Dirk Nowitzki

Even at 38-years old, Nowitzki is still one of the most talented scorers in the league. He led the Mavericks last season at 18.3 points a game — perennially a clutch seven-footer with a jump shot. Nowitzki doesn’t really need to jump much at all to get his shot off with his crafty, unorthodox footwork and high release. Dallas rewarded Nowitzki with a two-year, $50 million contract (team option on second season), in part to reward him for taking less money in recent years to help the team try and build a contender.

Top Defensive Player: Wesley Matthews

The Mavericks always seem to be greater than the sum of their parts defensively. Nowitzki has never been known as a defender, but Carlisle game plans well against the competition. Matthews is arguably the team’s best one-on-one defender on the perimeter, although he needs to show he’s fully back to form after tearing his Achilles’ tendon two seasons ago. Bogut is also a smart, capable defender when the team is going big. The Bogut-Nowitzki combination may have problems defensively against small-ball lineups.

Top Playmaker: Deron Williams

There was a time when Williams was a top assist man in the league. While his numbers have dipped, last season the veteran point guard led Dallas at 5.8 assists a game. J.J. Barea is one of the better backups in the game, second on the 2015-16 Mavericks with 4.1 assists a night. While Raymond Felton departed for the Los Angeles Clippers as a free agent, the team has additional depth at guard with Devin Harris and Curry.

Top Clutch Player: Dirk Nowitzki

Nowitzki will go down as one of the most clutch players of his generation. When the game is on the line, the Mavericks go to the former NBA Most Valuable Player, and he often delivers.

The Unheralded Player: Justin Anderson

The Mavericks have not embraced much of a youth movement over the past few years outside of adding Dwight Powell, but in June of 2015, Dallas drafted Anderson with the 21st overall pick. As a rookie, he averaged just 3.8 points while playing 10.7 minutes a game. Anderson needs to improve his jumper, but has great potential as a perimeter defender. More importantly, the Mavericks need to find pieces to build around once Nowitzki finally retires. The team should make room in the rotation to help make sure Anderson develops as a player.

Top New Addition: Harrison Barnes

Not necessarily the consensus, but for the sake of the Mavericks, who invested almost $95 million in the forward, Barnes needs to be the team’s best new addition. Barnes was a valuable part of the Warriors’ run the past two seasons, but he fell flat in the NBA Finals. Playing with Team USA this past month, Barnes wasn’t even in the regular rotation. The hope is, with a bigger role – and sacrificing fewer opportunities to players like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson – Barnes will thrive with more responsibility in Dallas.  That certainly remains to be seen.

– Eric Pincus


  1. Dirk Nowitzki

Nowitzki will be a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. Enjoy whatever he has left to offer on the court.

  1. Coach Rick Carlisle

Carlisle gets the most out of his roster. The Mavericks will win a lot of games against younger, more talented on-paper teams, partly because of Carlisle’s gamesmanship from the bench.

  1. Wesley Matthews

In addition to being a tough, physical defender, Matthews was a regular scorer with the Portland Trail Blazers. In his first year back from injury, he averaged 12.5 points a game for the Mavericks, shooting just 38.8 percent from the field. Expect Matthews to be more efficient this coming season.

  1. J.J. Barea

When Barea gets going, the Mavericks can be a bear stop. Carlisle seems to trust his reserve point guard, especially late in games. Barea isn’t even six-feet tall, regardless of how he’s listed, but he’s quick, smart and clutch.

– Eric Pincus


The Mavericks used space under the NBA’s $94.1 million salary cap to invest in Harrison Barnes, Deron Williams, Andrew Bogut (via trade) and Dwight Powell, among others.  Once over, the team used Dirk Nowitzki’s Bird Rights to pay him $25 million for the coming season. Dallas also used its $2.9 million Room Exception to sign Seth Curry. Now with at least $109.6 million in salary, the Mavericks have 14 guaranteed players with a spot available for Dorian Finney-Smith, Nicolas Brussino, Kyle Collinsworth, Keith Hornsby or Jameel Warney.

Dallas could have as much as $38 million next summer, based on a projected salary cap of $102 million. That presumes the Mavericks take the rookie-scale option on Justin Anderson, and that the team opts out of the second year on Nowitzki’s deal. Both Bogut and Williams will be free agents next summer, while just $1.3 million of Devin Harris’ $4.4 million is guaranteed for 2017-18. The Mavericks do not have the cap room necessary to restructure and extend Bogut’s contract.

– Eric Pincus


Young teams do a lot right over a 48-minute game, but when it comes down to close out a game, they’re often exposed. The Mavericks are that well-coached, veteran team that will win tight contests, simply because they know how to do so. The team will need to adjust to personnel changes, but the projected starting group of Williams, Matthews, Barnes, Nowitzki and Bogut is a very solid five. Barea, Powell and Harris off the bench, along with players like Quincy Acy, Anderson and Curry is a very solid rotation. The Mavericks will put up points this season and collectively, they’ll get enough stops to win more games than not.

– Eric Pincus


The Mavericks continue to be a good enough team — a squad that make the playoffs (thus bypassing the draft lottery) but doesn’t get beyond the first round. The team isn’t especially young or athletic, although players like Barnes and Anderson help that cause to an extent. Even if the team is in a “win now” posture for the close of Nowitzki’s career, they’re not quite strong enough to compete against the best teams in the league.

– Eric Pincus


Is Harrison Barnes more than a role player?

When a team like the Warriors can boast players like Draymond Green, Curry and Thompson, along with veterans like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, a young, evolving player like Barnes can get lost in the shuffle. Barnes was a featured part of the Warriors’ “death” small-ball lineup as they set an NBA record last year with 73 wins. Unfortunately for Golden State, their quest fell short after taking a 3-1 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Barnes was not good as the Warriors lost those three straight games to close the year. He seemingly lost his confidence and couldn’t hit a wide open shot. Is that how Barnes should be defined? What about his contribution to the championship run a year earlier, along with the record-setting 2015-16 season?

As one of the Mavericks’ best players, perhaps Barnes will step into a featured role — showing all that he held back in Golden State. At $22.1 million for the coming season, Dallas is banking on Barnes flourishing away from Golden State.

– Eric Pincus


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Payton Blocking Out Trade Talk, Believes Magic Will Turn It Around

Spencer Davies sits down with Elfrid Payton to discuss his fourth year, trade rumors and a trying season for Orlando in a Basketball Insiders exclusive.

Spencer Davies



It’s hard for a team to look for positives when it’s living in the basement.

The Orlando Magic have had a rough go of it this year. They’re 13-32 at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, they’ve have had a ton of setbacks, and they currently rank 29th in the NBA in defensive rating.

There is a bright spot hidden in there, though, and head coach Frank Vogel sees it growing as the season progresses.

“We’re frustrated with our record, but we’re encouraged with the development we’ve had with our young players,” Vogel said before Thursday’s game in Cleveland. “Aaron Gordon, Mario [Hezonja], and [Elfrid Payton] have all had strong individual seasons and continue to get better. All those guys are improving individually and at some point, it’s gonna lead to more Ws.”

While Gordon stands out more to some than the others because of his star appeal, Payton is right up there with him as far as making the next step goes.

“Elfrid’s shooting the ball better from the perimeter and at the rim,” Vogel said. “He’s worked on his left hand. He’s worked on his floaters. Shooting 52 percent from the field and that’s pretty darn good for a point guard, and the 39 percent from the three as well.”

Those are your more traditional statistics that don’t address the leap he’s taken in efficiency. Sure, Payton’s scoring the same amount of points per game, but it’s the way he’s been getting that’s been most noticeable.

According to Basketball-Reference and, he’s making nearly 70 percent of his tries between 0-3 feet and ranks third among point guards in restricted field goal percentage (min. four attempts).

But Payton doesn’t like to evaluate himself using numbers, so he doesn’t know how to feel about how he’s played for Orlando this year.

“It’s tough to say because I like to measure my success by winning and we haven’t been doing that,” Payton told Basketball Insiders. “So tough to say.”

He’s not kidding. Since starting out the season 8-4, the Magic have taken a hard fall, only winning five games since November 10. In this stretch, there have been three hefty losing streaks—two 9-game slides and most recently a 7-game skid.

“Not to make excuses—we had a lot of injuries,” Payton told Basketball Insiders of what happened. “Haven’t really been playing with the group of guys that we started the season with, so kinda derailed us a little bit.”

As the losses pile up, so does the chatter. Indicated by multiple recent reports, Orlando has made it clear that many players on the roster are available on the trade block. Evan Fournier, Mario Hezonja, and Payton were recently brought up as names who could possibly on the move if the right deal presents itself.

When asked about the rumblings, Vogel claimed he doesn’t have a message for his guys.

“They understand it’s part of the business,” he said. “Just focus on playing the game.”

Like his coach, Payton doesn’t have a reaction to the noise.

“I don’t get caught up into the things like that,” Payton told Basketball Insiders. “Today I’m an Orlando Magic. I play for the Orlando Magic and I’m gonna give them 100 percent of me. I’m somebody that likes to finish what I started, so I definitely would like to see this through and try to turn this organization around.”

So who does he see on this team that can help jump-start the process in flipping the script?

“Everybody,” Payton told Basketball Insiders. “I like Vuc. I like AG. Evan [Fournier] is somebody who can fill it up. T Ross is somebody who can fill it up when healthy. I think we have a lot of talent on this team. Even the rookies—Wes [Iwundu] plays well for us in stretches. Jon [Isaac] when he was playing he’d do well.

“You could see the potential there. So I think we have a lot of weapons on this team. I’m very confident in the group we have here. I think we have a lot of talent, we just have to do it.”

Saying you’re going to right the ship is one thing. Actually doing it is a whole other challenge. With where the Magic sit in the standings currently, their work is cut out for them. That being said, Payton isn’t giving up.

In fact, he’s still got his eyes on making it to the postseason, and it starts with him.

“Definitely trying to get a run going,” Payton told Basketball Insiders. “Make a playoff push. It’s definitely not out of sight right now, especially with the way the East is. We win a few games and we right back in the thick of things.

“Do whatever I can to help us to get more wins, man. I think that’s what it all boils down to. I figure if I’m playing well, that means we’re winning for the most part.”

Defense matters the most, and it’s something Payton and his group know they need to get better at if they have a chance to play past mid-April.

“Just be tied in together a little bit more,” Payton told Basketball Insiders. “I think sometimes we have too many breakdowns on the backside. So just being more in-tune with each other.”

One thing is for sure—Orlando is going through this difficult time as a team, but refuses to fold. Payton says Vogel has constantly stayed in their ears with uplifting advice.

“Keep fighting,” Payton told Basketball Insiders of his words. “Don’t feel sorry for yourself. No one’s gonna feel sorry for you, so just keep fighting.”

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NBA Daily: Three Teams Treading Water In The West

While the Clippers have surged into the playoff picture, the Blazers, Nuggets and Pelicans are barely staying afloat out West.

Buddy Grizzard



While the L.A. Clippers have surged into the Western Conference playoff picture on the crest of a six-game win streak, the Trail Blazers, Nuggets and Pelicans are stumbling toward the All-Star break with records around .500 over their last 10 games.

All four teams are within a game of each other and hovering around the playoff cut line. For teams that are treading water, the second half of the season will be a struggle for consistency in a brutal playoff race that promises to leave a good team on the outside looking in.

Although Richard Jefferson is winding down a storied career and barely playing for the Nuggets, he often takes the role of elder statesman in media scrums. After the Nuggets became the latest victim of the red-hot Clippers Wednesday, Jefferson said they should not be underestimated.

“They’ve been a playoff team for many, many years,” said Jefferson. “They’ve dealt with some injuries but, for the most part, I think they’re going to be in the hunt for the playoffs just like we are.”

Jefferson was also asked about the Nuggets’ late-game execution and pointed to the team’s overall youth with major addition Paul Millsap missing extended time due to injury.

“We’re getting to a spot of being a little bit more consistent in those moments,” said Jefferson. “But ultimately, I think guys are still learning. Most of the guys that are in these positions are in these positions for the first time. I think we’ll continue getting better as the season goes on.”

Meanwhile, the Pelicans experienced its own setback Wednesday in a loss to an Atlanta Hawks team that’s tied for the second-worst record in the league. For now, the Pelicans hold the seventh seed. It will be up to the continuing evolution of the Anthony Davis-DeMarcus Cousins pairing to keep New Orleans trending in the right direction.

“For us, we’re two guys who can shoot the ball, handle it, pass,” said Davis after the loss in Atlanta. “We’ve got a lot of guys around us who are capable of making plays. I think we compliment each other. There’s still some stuff we still want to get better at as a unit.”

Davis went into further detail about what makes the rare pairing of two elite big men work.

“Cuz is always spacing the floor,” said Davis. “One guy’s inside, the other one’s outside. We set screens for each other, throw lobs for each other. So it’s tough for bigs to try to play that. When we set a pin-down for myself or DeMarcus, most four or fives are not used to that.”

Davis came into the game with 30 or more points in three straight games and seven of the previous 10—he’s been on a massive roll. However, that streak came to an end as Davis hit only two of eight shots for eight points. Hawks rookie John Collins scored 18 while dealing with the issues Davis described.

“You’ve got A.D. on the one hand and then you’ve got Boogie on the other hand,” said Collins. “[They’re] some of the best bigs in the league, very skilled guys, obviously a handful to deal with.”

Hawks shooting guard Kent Bazemore led Atlanta with 20 points and hit the final shot in the waning moments to secure the victory. Bazemore is a player the Pelicans could conceivably pursue at the trade deadline to address wing issues.

Meanwhile, the Trail Blazers are dealing with questions of whether a team built around Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum can become competitive with the West’s upper echelon. Marc Stein of the New York Times went so far as to predict that Portland’s backcourt could be broken up this year.

“No one’s suggesting it’ll happen before the Feb. 8 trade deadline,” Stein wrote. “But Portland’s latest so-so season threatens to be the impetus that finally pushes the longtime Blazers owner Paul Allen in a new direction.”

This is the time of year when NBA teams take stock and have to decide if they are properly constructed or need to look at changes. With the Pelicans, Trail Blazers and Nuggets barely keeping pace in the playoff race, few other teams will be more heavily scrutinized — internally as well as externally — as the trade deadline approaches.

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NBA Daily: Things To Watch Heading Into Trade Season

Two of our experts identify four teams and four players to keep an eye on during trade season.

Basketball Insiders



With memories of DeMarcus Cousins being told that he was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans during his postgame availability at last season’s All-Star game, the NBA moved the trade deadline up.

This season, the deadline falls on February 8, and all there has been a lot of discussion leading into next month’s deadline.

We asked Moke Hamilton and Lang Greene to weigh in on some items to keep an eye on over the next three weeks.

Nikola Mirotic and Derrick Favors

This year’s trade deadline will probably lack big names getting moved, but teams such as the Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets are within sniffing distance of a playoff berth for the first time in years. It will be interesting to see if their respective front offices swing for the fences to achieve the goal.

There are three ways to improve a roster or prepare for the future in the NBA. The methods are free agency, trade and the annual draft. Trade deadline deals are risky. There are a lot of deals each season which involve players on the verge of hitting the free agent market. Teams acquiring these take the risk that they’re only “renting” those guys until the season concludes.

At the end of the day, though, the two biggest names we may see moved are Nikola Mirotic and Derrick Favors.

Mirotic has been plagued by inconsistency throughout his career, but the fourth-year forward is by far having his best season as a professional despite his minutes remaining flat. On a per 36 minute basis, Mirotic is averaging 25.1 points and 9.9 rebounds.

Mirotic and teammate Bobby Portis made headlines before the season for their fight, which led plenty of missed time for the forward. Mirotic’s name has been mentioned on the block ever since this incident, but it’s clear the Bulls have integrated him back into their rotation fully. Still, the team is believed to simply be waiting for the right time and trade partner and that Mirotic’s days in Chicago are numbered.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Bulls plan to be patient in fielding calls for Mirotic, while the player has deflected all talks to his representatives.

“I didn’t talk to [the Bulls’ front office recently],” he said. “Probably my agents are talking, so I don’t know so far what’s going on, but I know my name is going to be out there. I’m doing my job, and I’m sure they’re doing their job, and we’re both going to do what’s best for the team.”

Mirotic has a no-trade clause built into his contract and would have to waive it prior to completing any deal, unless the Bulls were to guarantee the team option on the final year of his contract for 2018-19. Don’t count on that, though.

With respect to Favors, he battled injuries the past two seasons but has remained relatively healthy to begin this campaign. The forward is shooting a career high from the field, but according to the Salt Lake Tribune, the Utah Jazz have dangled him in trade talks since the beginning of the season.

Favors was one of the central parts of the Deron Williams trade years ago, but could be expendable because of the emergence of center Rudy Gobert in the Jazz’s frontcourt. The forward is on the books for $12.5 million this season and was most recently linked to the aforementioned Mirotic in trade talks between Utah and Chicago.

– Lang Greene

DeAndre Jordan and Paul George

Heading into deadline season, there’s not much out there to suggest that we’ll see any superstar-caliber players moved. With the likes of Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Chris Paul and Kyrie Irving among the players that switched teams over the summer, it seems that most NBA teams that have difference-makers on their rosters are in construction mode—they’re trying to compete with the Cavs or the Warriors.

The two superstar players who merit some discussion, though, are DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Jordan.

With respect to Jordan, the Clippers find themselves in a very peculiar situation. With Chris Paul having defected to the Houston Rockets, it’s easy to conclude that the Clippers are no longer a true contender. Still, they’ve played so well over the past few weeks (including scoring a victory over Paul and his Rockets) that it seems a difficult proposition to proactively pull the plug.

Still, though, as written in this past Sunday’s column, it’s time for the Clippers to trade Jordan, mainly because a team that is heading toward a rebuild can’t afford to lose a player of his caliber for nothing, and that’s quite possible unless the Clippers fork over a max contract to Jordan this summer. The proposition wouldn’t be wise, particularly because it could cost the Clippers a first round pick in one of the upcoming drafts.

He’s definitely a player that should be watched.

Paul George, on the other hand, doesn’t appear likely to be headed out of Oklahoma City. The team is reportedly committed to keeping him for the duration of the season, with the hope being that the Thunder will get their act together and win a round or two in the playoffs. With the team still hovering around .500, it seems a long shot.

There are some, however, that believe that the Thunder should at least see what might be available to them in exchange for George, especially with the team trading Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis for him. That’s especially true with Oladipo closing in on what certainly appears to be his first All-Star selection.

– Moke Hamilton

Dallas Mavericks Are Open For Business

The Dallas Mavericks are in a clear rebuild and the prospect of making the playoffs is more dream than reality this season, but the team does have some things going for it.

The Mavs have roughly $13 million in cap space, which puts them in a prime spot to acquire talent at the deadline without giving up any of their players in return. In fact, Mark Cuban went on the record and said exactly that.

“I would say we are looking to use our cap space actively,” Cuban told the Dallas Morning News earlier this week. “We will take back salary to get picks or guys we think can play.”

The Mavericks have the second-lowest payroll in the league, but Cuban has been known to spend money to acquire relevant talent. The team hasn’t had much success in in attracting free agents in recent years, and with the Hall of Fame career of Dirk Nowitzki coming to an end, the team is undoubtedly looking to retool.

– Lang Greene

Cavs and Lakers Each Likely To Do Something

It’s a poorly kept secret that the Los Angeles Lakers have had their sights set on acquiring a superstar or two this coming summer. With Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins and LeBron James among those who could hit the market in July, the Lakers have quite a bit of incentive to try to rid themselves of the contracts of Luol Deng and Jordan Clarkson.

Where things get interesting for the Lakers is with the emergence of several of their young players this season. Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Kyle Kuzma and to a lesser extent Josh Hart have each given the team impressive minutes this season. If the Lakers feel they have a real shot at signing James and, say, DeMarcus Cousins, it may be enough for them to package Deng and/or Clarkson with one of their promising young players and perhaps a future draft pick.

It’s certainly something I’d keep my eyes on.

And speaking of future draft picks, with the Cavs not taking their standing in the Eastern Conference for granted, one can only wonder the extent to which the Nets’ first round pick this coming season is burning a hole in their pockets. Aside from the Nets pick, though, the Cavs do own their own first round pick, which could be enough for them to pry the likes of a player like Mirotic or Favors from their current team.

There has also been some conjecture revolving around the availability of Tristan Thompson, with one interesting scenario having the Cavs and Clippers at least contemplating a trade involving Thompson and Jordan.

The Cavs and Lakers each have too much at stake to not do something.

– Moke Hamilton

Only 21 Days To Go…

With the trade deadline exactly three weeks from today, talks will certainly heat up.

For now, though, the Mavs, Cavs and Lakers appear to be the teams most involved in conversations, with Nikola Mirotic, Derrick Favors and DeAndre Jordan among those most likely to be dealt.

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