Don’t expect the Dallas Mavericks to make a decision about dealing the 13th overall pick until they’re on the clock during Thursday night’s NBA draft.
The Mavs have done plenty of prep work, aggressively shopping the pick around the league for weeks. They discussed all sorts of scenarios, including swapping the late lottery pick for a future first-rounder, trading down in this draft and even trading up, the latter being by far the least likely scenario.
The plan is to put off committing to anything until just before they make the pick, whether it’s for another team or with the intent to actually keep the player. The Mavs want to see what kind of offers they might get at the last minute.
Among the teams with whom the Mavs have had trade discussions: the Atlanta Hawks, who own the 17th and 18th overall picks; and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who own the 19th, 31st and 33rd picks in addition to No. 1.
The Mavs have made no secret of their interest in moving their first lottery pick since 2000 to avoid the cap hold of $1.655 million. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’d accept a deal they deem to be below market value.
The Mavs’ options include drafting an international player who they could stash overseas for at least another season to eliminate the cap hold this summer. German point guard Dennis Schroeder and Greek small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo are the two most intriguing overseas options for the Mavs, although one or both could be available if Dallas traded down. Russian shooting guard Sergey Karasev is a potential target for teams trying to acquire the 13th overall pick.
The Mavs could also pick a player they are absolutely confident they could trade in July if their Dwight Howard recruiting pitch is successful and they need to create the additional cap space required to sign the All-Star center.
If they fail to land Howard in that case, the Mavs would at least have a rookie who is a ready-made rotation player, if not a starter. The leading candidates in that scenario: Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams, UCLA swingman Shabazz Muhammad and Gonzaga center/forward Kelly Olynyk.
One certainty about the Mavs’ draft-night wheeling and dealing, according to team sources: Shawn Marion will not be moved.
Marion has been the subject of trade rumors, specifically involving Cleveland, but Mavs sources continue to insist they are not engaging in discussions about dealing Marion at this time. Because Marion’s contract includes an early termination option with a June 29 deadline, he would have to approve any trade involving him before that date.