The Dallas Mavericks’ late-season collapse and controversial decision to tank marked a bad end to an already shaky year. The Mavericks made the Western Conference Finals last season, but uneven play this season resulted in superstar Luka Doncic pressuring Dallas to upgrade. They did so by acquiring Kyrie Irving, but he failed to make an impact and they went just 6–18 post-trade deadline and failed to make the play-in tournament.
That failure will likely mean big changes this summer for the Mavs or risk further alienating Doncic, who may be moving closer to wanting out. While he doesn’t seem to be there yet, a wild trade proposal might be enough to get Dallas to move him to a division rival. Fanspo recently floated a trade involving Doncic and New Orleans Pelicans superstar Zion Williamson. Take a look:
This Mavericks-Pelicans trade proposal could be the basis of an actual deal.
Williamson has struggled with injuries over the course of his career; in fact, he has only played 114 regular-season games since being drafted. When he’s healthy, he’s a force to be reckoned with, but that has rarely been the case over his first four seasons. While the Pelicans likely won’t admit it, if the right deal came along, they would probably trade him rather than risk him missing significant time going forward and losing his value.
The trade itself is definitely rough, but the foundations of a good trade are there. With Doncic potentially demanding a trade but under contract for at least three more years, teams such as the Pelicans could make a run at him.
Actually, New Orleans could make for a unique trade partner since other teams would likely offer the Mavericks four or five first-round picks as well as a few promising young players. On the other hand, the Pelicans could offer them a bonafide superstar, albeit one who has yet to prove that he can play a full season.
Fortunately, we’ve already seen a talented young player in a similar situation go on to live up to his full potential. Joel Embiid missed his first two seasons and half of his third but has since emerged as a top-5 player and an MVP candidate. Williamson definitely has that type of potential. And if Dallas feels that they’ve already lost Doncic, then they could pull off a modified version of the aforementioned blockbuster trade proposal.
What a Dallas-New Orleans trade could actually look like.
It’s hard to argue that Doncic isn’t better than Williamson at this point and that health certainly plays a factor in the discussion. When healthy, Williamson is a top-15 player, still very good but a couple of rungs below Doncic. The Fanspo proposal accounted for that gap by including the Pelicans’ 2022 sixth overall pick, Dyson Daniels, as well as five first-round picks. The gap between those two superstars certainly isn’t six firsts. A more reasonable amount would be three, minus Daniel’s.
Few teams could match such an offer. Additionally, the Pelicans may have some leverage in trade discussions with the Mavs because they could simply walk away and keep their star and wealth of picks. Dallas, on the other hand, may not be able to keep their star and certainly doesn’t have many picks.
Ultimately, while this trade could possibly work for both teams, neither may be at that point just yet. Doncic may give Dallas another year to get their act together, while the Pelicans may be patient with Williamson to see if he can put his injuries behind him. If neither happens, however, then this trade might end up occurring down the road.