2. Jonas Valanciunas
Valanciunas popped up in the offseason rumors, but things have cooled since the regular season started. The Pelicans are fighting for a playoff spot as Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram have been healthy. New Orleans wanted a center upgrade and must decide how to fill that position moving forward.
JV is on a $15.4 million expiring contract. His minutes are down a bit this season, but he is averaging 14.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 blocks in 27.4 per game. The 6’11 big man is a career 35.8 percent 3-point shooter and offers elite rebounding. There are questions about his defense and rim protection, but Valanciunas is a talented big man who has helped his team make the playoffs seven times.
The 31-year-old has been a starter for his entire 12-year NBA career. Dallas has their starting center of the present and future in Derick Lively II. Would Valanciunas be willing to back him up if it meant contending? The Mavs could play some two big-man looks with JV operating more as a floor spacer and weak side rim protector.
The fit is questionable, but the Dallas Mavericks need another quality big man or enough wing depth to go small in the playoffs. If the Pelicans can acquire a center upgrade, Jonas Valanciunas may be available on the cheap. He would certainly be an upgrade for the Mavs and one who could be impactful in their playoff chase.