As the NBA trade deadline approaches, DallasBasketball.com has kept you up to date on all the Dallas Mavericks trade rumours, reports and hypothetical trade ideas. Given how the Mavs have played this calendar year, the sense of urgency to make a trade is probably not as high as it was before. However, Dallas needs to take some steps to achieve true contender status this season.
We’ve already spat out the idea of a Mavs trade with the Los Angeles Lakers with big men Anthony Davis and Kristaps Porzingis based on the Lakers being basically stuck where they are right now with no clear path to improvement in the Future. If you don’t think the Lakers are in a tough spot, just look at what they offered the Detroit Pistons for Jerami Grant.
To stay on topic with the Lakers, staff gathered to discuss a borderline absurd idea. Is there a scenario out there where the Mavs should risk trading for Russell Westbrook, who’s been spending a lot of time appearing on Shaqtin’ A Fool lately? More specifically, would you trade Tim Haraway Jr., Dwight Powell and Trey Burke for him?
Dalton Trigg: Just looking at the traditional numbers on the surface, you’d probably be thinking, “Oh, well, Westbrook wasn’t that bad, y’all,” as he averaged 18.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 7.8 Assists per game scored season. Westbrook shoots just 43 percent from the field and 30 percent from deep, which isn’t good, especially for a guy who’s making $43 million this season and $47 million the next, but it’s also pretty close to overall efficiency by Luka Doncic, who has looked like this year as well.
However, if you dig a little deeper, you can really see the rapid decline in Westbrook’s advanced stats game over the past few years. From Westbrook’s third year in the league through his final season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, he always had very respectable individual offensive and defensive stats, even after Kevin Durant came over to the Golden State Warriors and left him alone.
After that nine-year streak of +6 average individual net rating, Westbrook has been declining at an alarming rate, and it’s come to a head somewhat this season as he has a -10 individual net rating for the Lakers. His defense has fallen off a cliff, and his offense makes it seem like he might need to consider socializing aside from a throwback game where he crushed Rudy Gobert.
So, after all this, why on earth would the Mavs consider trading for him?
Anyone who knows me knows I can’t help but ponder future Mavs free agency dream scenarios, although oddly I’m also inclined to believe that cap space is a myth and can be created once you get it the ‘yes’ from a free agent first. But swapping Hardaway Jr. and Powell’s contracts for Westbrook’s would mean the Mavs would have a way of potentially capping the maximum cap spot in the summer of 2023, when incumbent MVP Nikola Jokic could be an unrestricted free agent to have.
You can imagine the rabbit hole I can go down from there, but that would be the only reason I would even consider the offer. Also, I feel like the Lakers need to add some sort of draft compensation as well. If Westbrook doesn’t get along well with LeBron James, there’s not much reason to think he would also get along well with Doncic, who shaped much of his game post-James.
Not to mention that this type of trade could completely wipe out the good vibes that have been building on the team over the past three weeks or so. I imagined it would be similar to the infamous Rajon Rondo trade of 2014, just with an extra year.
After spending an entire article on words here, I’m going to end it by simply answering “no” to the initial question… but I had to think about it for a second, and it’s a scary thought. Mavs need to do something, but this isn’t the right one.
mike fisherman: I know we sometimes talk about how they overestimate culture and chemistry in the Cuban era; Maybe Dirk Nowitzki was the only reason the Mavs had locker room chemistry for 20 years. No fluffy towels. No modern gimmicks.
But so much about Russ’ personality makes him seem like someone who flips chemistry on its head. Does he have to be “the man”? Does he realize his star has faded?
I would worry about that.
This type of move could lead to some cap-friendliness, as mentioned above. And it would definitely be a “spark” in one way or another. But that seems cooler “on paper” than a lot of other things.
Matthew Postin: My opinion? I like Westbrook’s game, but he does too many things that Luka is good at, aside from the occasional thunder dunk, for me to get too upset about it.
Salaries match, but the Lakers would likely have to give the Mavs compensation to make that trade. And given that the Lakers first offered their 2027 to the Pistons for Jerami Grant, it’s hard to imagine them attaching such an asset just to dump Westbrook. He has a $47 million player option for next season, and he’s almost guaranteed to take that option.
While I could see it provided a temporary “spark” as Fish said, I also think I’d stop by here.
Lance Roberson: Westbrook isn’t the answer to winning basketball games, at least not in the role he has in mind. It no longer ends with a respectful clip in the margin; Sales are still a problem.
Last but not least, and probably most importantly, his competitive frenzy will do nothing but tear the Mavs apart. In short, in no scenario would I trade for Westbrook.
Grant Afseth: No.
Convincing stuff from our guy Grant, there. And frankly, he’s right.