NBA trade rumors are suggesting that the Dallas Mavericks are looking for more depth in the front court. Kenneth Faried and JJ Hickson of the Denver Nuggets have been named as two potential targets for the Mavericks, according to the Dallas Morning News. The move would be a way for Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to continue to prove to Dirk Nowitzki that he intends on letting him contend for the NBA Championship throughout the remaining few years.
Despite losing out on DeAndre Jordan, who infamously decided to back out of his deal at the last minute so that he could return to the Los Angeles Clippers last summer, the Dallas Mavericks still have one of the best front courts in the NBA. Dirk Nowitzki is still playing at a high level at 37 years of age. Chandler Parsons has taken some of the pressure off of Nowitzki, and Zaza Pachulia has proven to be quite a steal since the Mavericks only sent a second round draft choice to the Milwaukee Bucks to acquire him.
The backup front court players aren’t really all that impressive. Jeremy Evans and Salah Mejri only play trash minutes. The Dallas Mavericks cannot trust Javale McGee for more than a quarter. Dwight Powell has shown flashes of being a great contributor in the future, but still struggles at time now. Charlie Villanueva will either play more than 20 minutes in a game, or he will be relegated to the end of the bench on other nights.
Kenneth Faried is one of the starting forwards, along with budding NBA superstar Danilo Gallinari, for the Denver Nuggets. He’s not off limits, however. Faried is a very productive player, averaging 12.5 points, 8.9 rebounds and a block a game. Coaches can trust him to play more than 20 minutes a night. Plus, Faried is a willing defender, so he would serve as an excellent backup for Dirk Nowitzki and Zaza Pachulia.
Kenneth Faried might be hesitant on the idea of becoming a bench player. However, he has been having some issues with Denver Nuggets head coach Mike Malone as of late. Malone refuses to give Faried more than 30 minutes a game, like most starters in the NBA. With Dirk Nowitzki aging, Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle might be more willing to sit his star and allow Faried to take more of Dirk’s minutes.
When the NBA season started, JJ Hickson was playing 17 minutes a game for the Denver Nuggets throughout November and December. By the time that January rolled around, he saw his playing time reduced dramatically to just six minutes a game. Hickson has played just a single minute for the Nuggets. To say that JJ wouldn’t mind a change of scenery would not be that difficult to believe.
Mike Malone has a difficult balancing act for the Denver Nuggets. He’s obligated to keep winning games, and that means the veterans need to be leaned upon. However, he also knows that he has younger front court players, such as Joffrey Lauvergne, Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic who need playing time so that they can become quality NBA players in the future. Trading away Kenneth Faried and and JJ Hickson would help clear up the rotation and enable Malone to commit to the younger players.
While NBA teams always have to look towards the future, Mark Cuban knows that the Dallas Mavericks need to win now. If it means that he needs to send out assets to surround Dirk Nowitzki with quality veterans, then it just might have to be done.
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