Jusuf Nurkic New Home #2: Dallas Mavericks
Only an offseason ago, the Mavericks were dreaming about adding the final piece to a puzzle that seemed to show a championship future surrounding a young Luka Doncic. They’d just knocked off the dominant Phoenix Suns and lost to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, giving their team a lot of confidence for the next year.
By and large, Dallas slumped out of the gates and never found its footing, hovering around .500 for most of the season, even after they swung for the fences and acquired Kyrie Irving from the floundering Brooklyn Nets at the trade deadline.
With Doncic and Irving (hopefully for the Mavs) in tow, the team likely feels better about the playoffs, but still needs a few pieces.
That’s where Nurkic comes in. The Mavericks started Dwight Powell at center for most of the season, and while Powell is a good player, he isn’t the bruising enforcer on both ends like Nurkic.
There’s the added bonus of a cheaper, team-controlled contract for Nurkic, alongside the fact that he’s played next to two ball-dominant players in Portland and won’t have to adjust much.
Again, this trade doesn’t rope in a new starting center for the Blazers, but few good trades, if any, for Nurkic will do so. Instead, the Blazers continue to add proven role players who can help them in their future playoff push. Nabbing a player like Tim Hardaway Jr. or Reggie Bullock fits right into the team’s price range and fills their need for wing shooting:
Either Hardaway Jr. or Bullock would likely play major minutes on the wing for next year’s Blazers, who are eager to take a step forward and make some noise in the West. While they aren’t the second star that the team needs to pair with Lillard, both players would help the team improve on the margins and get one step closer to the postseason.