Mavs In On Denver Trade Fire Sale? Nope.
The Denver Nuggets traded Timofey Mozgov to Cleveland, amid rumors that they are having a fire sale. Is this something that opens a door for the Mavs to obtain more talent?
Mozgov was acquired by the Cavs for two (yes, two!) first-round picks. NBA sources tell DB.com that other players are being made available by the Nuggets, but they also note the following: they are available only if the Nuggets will get one or more first-rounders in return.
That closes the door to any deal with the Mavs, who are precluded from trading any additional first-rounders for quite some time. As part of the deal for Rajon Rondo,the Mavs sent a protected first-rounder to Boston that could be conveyed as late as 2021 (if, each season between now and then, the pick landed in the "protected" category attached to the pick).
As a result, per the Stepien rule preventing the Mavs from being without future first-rounders in consecutive years, the earliest first-round pick the Mavs could presently offer in trade (in light of the pick owed Boston from the Rondo deal) would have to be 2023 or later. However, a team cannot trade a pick that is more than seven years in the future, which means they couldn't even trade a 2023-or-later first-round pick.
Technically, the Mavs could still make it happen, by sending one of their players to another team for a first-rounder that then goes to the Nuggets, in a three-way deal. So do we think there's a team out there ready to offer a fist-rounder for Felton or any of the others the Mavs might be willing to part with at this time? Ummm, no.
After crafting the above explanation, we did a bit of CBA checking for possible loopholes, and found that the Mavs could maybe sidestep some of the limitations by adding a slew of contingency wording - in a way to actually make a trade of a first theoretically doable. That would include conditions like “two years after the 2015 pick has actually been conveyed” and “if it’s not conveyed by such-and-such a date, then …” and more. In such a scenario, the pick in the best case isn’t likely to convey until 2018 at the earliest – and even later, perhaps, if they opt to put some “protections” on it. And in any event, even if the door can be pushed slightly ajar, the bottom line remains the same - it’s a pick the Mavs just don’t want to give.
As an aside, while it might seem like this somewhat handcuffs the Mavs, in reality it only serves to keep other teams from asking for something that the Mavs probably wouldn't want to offer anyhow. In three to four years Dirk may have retired, and it is assumed that when he does so, they will have to rebuild and will need their draft choices then. While the presence of players like Chandler Parsons, Monta Ellis, and Rondo offer lots of promise that perhaps the fall won't be great, the reality of life without Dirk Nowitzki - whose on-court and off-court impact remains huge - creates the possibility that those draft picks in those years will be crucial.
But that's then. This is now. And with Denver, as long as their asking price is "first-rounder or bust," look for the Dallas Mavericks to be shopping elsewhere.
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