As an opportunistic franchise, the Mavericks are of course interested in trying to take advantage of the Celtics’ fire sale by trading for All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo.
The issue: What assets do the Mavs have that would be intriguing to a rebuilding Celtics team?
ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports the Celtics have asked for Dirk Nowitzki. That makes for an awfully brief conversation, especially considering Nowitzki’s no-trade clause.
If the conversations pick up, can the Mavs make an offer that would be better than what Boston could get elsewhere? Remember, Dallas can’t trade future first-round picks because it owes a protected pick to Oklahoma City (via the Lakers and Rockets, originally from the Lamar Odom trade).
Boston reportedly likes Dallas first-round pick Shane Larkin, but the former Miami point guard isn’t going to be a centerpiece to a blockbuster deal. If the Celtics decide to go the direction of a total teardown -- and give themselves a good chance to land phenom Andrew Wiggins with the No. 1 overall pick next summer -- the Mavs might be able to intrigue Boston with an offer that dumps a lot of salary on Dallas.
Some contracts the Celtics probably would want to part with: former Mavs forward Brandon Bass (two years, $13.35 million remaining), shooting guard Courtney Lee (three years, $16.35 million remaining) and soon-to-be-officially-acquired-from-Brooklyn forward Gerald Wallace (three years, $30.32 million remaining).
It would be miraculous for the Mavs to be able to carve out the cap space needed to successfully recruit Dwight Howard and swing a blockbuster deal to get Rondo.
If the Mavs managed both, Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson would deserve to share the executive of the year award. Pull off one or the other, and it’d still be a heck of a summer.