After a promising performance last year, the Dallas Mavericks are off to a disappointing start in the 2020-21 NBA season. As of now, they are out of the playoff race, sitting at the No. 11 spot in the Western Conference with a 12-14 record. The Mavericks may be slowly finding their way back to the winning column but if they are serious about capturing the Larry O'Brien Trophy this year, they should highly prioritize making major roster upgrades before the 2021 trade deadline.
In a recent article, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report created an updated list of trade targets for every team in the league. For the Mavericks, Swartz believes that they should go after Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond, Sacramento Kings shooting guard Buddy Hield, or Chicago Bulls small forward Otto Porter Jr. before the 2021 trade deadline. Of the three players, Hield would arguably be the safest option for the Mavericks.
Unlike Drummond and Porter, who are in the final year of their respective contracts, Dallas would have full control of Hield until the 2023-24 NBA season. The successful acquisition of Hield before the deadline could help them improve their three-point shooting. With his ability to excel in an off-ball capacity, he could also nicely fit alongside ball-dominant superstars like Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis in Dallas.
"Dallas currently ranks dead last in team three-point shooting (33.8 percent), an area Hield could immediately step in and help fix. The 28-year-old is nailing 42.0 percent of his pull-up threes this season and should only improve his catch-and-shoot numbers while playing alongside a passing talent like Luka Doncic."
Meanwhile, trading for possible one-year rentals like Drummond and Porter might make a lot of sense for the Mavericks if they want to become a more competitive team in the 2020-21 season while maintaining their salary cap flexibility in the 2021 offseason.
"Porter and Drummond each carry expiring contracts of $28 million or more, giving Dallas the opportunity to add talent now and wipe away some future money before free agency hits. Porter (11.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 40.0 percent from three) helps improve the Mavs' outside attack, while Drummond digs Dallas out of its 27th-ranked rebounding slot (48.0 percent)."Like Hield, Porter could also help the Mavericks improve their three-point shooting and provide them with more options in the wing positions. Meanwhile, Drummond could give Dallas a major frontcourt upgrade. He could potentially boost their performance in terms of scoring under the basket, rebounding, and protecting the rim. Having Drummond on their roster would also allow them to move Porzingis to the power forward position, which could help him preserve his body and stay away from major injuries.