The NBA trade deadline is just about a month away, and the Dallas Mavericks need to be one of the more active teams before the trade window closes. The Mavs trade deadline strategy has to be a combination of buying and selling. They need to get guys who aren’t working out (like Christian Wood) and bring players in who can fit with Luka Doncic. That means shooters who can also create a little on their own. That’s why the two best trades the Mavs must make before 2023 NBA trade deadline include bringing in Bojan Bogdanovic from the Detroit Pistons and Duncan Robinson from the Miami Heat.
Bojan Bogdanovic for Davis Bertans
The “putting shooters around Luka Doncic” strategy is good, in theory, but it is a little more nuanced than that. Players who stand at the 3-point line and can’t do much else don’t really work, especially in the 11 or minutes per game Doncic is not on the court.
What the Mavs need are excellent shooters who also have at least some skill putting the ball on the floor and making something happen off the dribble as well.
That’s why the Mavs trade that works for this new strategy tweak is bringing in the Pistons’ Bojan Bogdanovic — a guy shooting 42.2% from deep this season but also averaging a career-high 2.7 assists per game and shooting 48.8% from the field — who can do more than a simple jump-shooter like Davis Bertans.
The move would upgrade the Mavs in a big way. According to John Hollinger’s statistical analysis on the ESPN NBA Trade Machine, Bogdanovic would add eight wins to the Mavs 2022-23 win total.
Contractually, both players have two more seasons and a not-fully-guaranteed third year, and Bertans makes $3 million a year less. A Mavs trade like this would also have to include a future first, of which Dallas has all but one (a top-10 protected earmarked for the Knicks) available.
A first-rounder is a significant price to pay for a 33-year-old having a career year on a bad team. But at some point, Mark Cuban and company have to forget the future and focus on the present, so they don’t waste too many of Doncic’s prime seasons.
Duncan Robinson for Christian Wood
Another Mavs trade deadline deal that seems to be on the horizon is flipping Christian Wood just 40 or so games into his Mavs career.
Wood is doing OK offensively, but his total lack of defensive ability (or interest?) means that Jason Kidd will never fully trust him. Plus, he is on an expiring contract, which gives him his most value right now and means the Mavs could lose him for nothing this offseason after giving up four players and last year’s first-round pick for him.
The Heat make a lot of sense as a potential Wood destination at the 2023 NBA trade deadline.
Miami is struggling this season, sitting around .500 all year at the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. They are third-best in the league in points allowed per game (109.5) and tied for last with the Los Angeles Clipper in points scored per game (109.0). This means they can afford to bring in an all-offense type of player like Wood, and he could seriously improve on their offensive woes.
Also, they wouldn’t have to give up much for the player, and as an expiring contract, he’s easy to get off of if it doesn’t work out. The Heat may be in rebuild mode next season if this year doesn’t go well, so turning Robinson’s $16 – $19 million per year over the next three years into $14.3 million in salary cap space would be a massive $30 million swing.
As for Robinson, he is out at least a month after finger surgery, and when he gets back, he still has many of the same defensive issues Wood does. However, a Mavs trade with the Heat for Wood and Robinson should bring back a lottery-protected first-round pick as well, which is a decent haul for Dallas.
Robinson is averaging just 17.9 minutes, 6.9 points, 1.2 assists, 1.7 rebounds, and shooting 33.1% from 3. These are all his lowest numbers since his 15-game rookie season. However, with more minutes and next to Luka Doncic, maybe the sharpshooter can get back to his best numbers, where he was averaging over 13 points a game as a 43%-47% 3-point shooter.
Overall, these two Mavs trade deadline deals would improve the team through upgrading the talent (Bojan Bogdanovic), addition by subtraction (Christian Wood), and maybe even by catching lightning in a bottle (Duncan Robinson).
That’s why these are the two deals Dallas must make before February 9 gets here.