NBA Trade Deadline: Luka Doncic and Quiet Mavs May Be Stuck Making the Best With Their Current Roster

Luka Doncic‘s rise to becoming one of the league’s top players hasn’t been coupled with the Dallas Mavericks putting a championship-caliber roster around him. Instead, Doncic continues to do the heavy lifting, almost singlehandedly making Dallas a playoff constant.

The best the Mavericks have brought aboard is an underperforming Kristaps Porzingis. However, the trade deadline offers another opportunity to bolster the roster, and it doesn’t appear that will happen.

Luka Doncic and Mavericks are starting to hit their stride

The 2021-22 season has featured some tough stretches for the Mavericks.

Dallas experienced difficulty finding a rhythm as Doncic dealt with lingering health issues that forced him to miss 15 games. However, the star forward has worked through those nagging problems, leading the team to win seven out of their last 10 contests.

Despite his ongoing 3-point shooting woes (30.9%), Doncic is coming off a productive month in January, averaging a near triple-double with 25.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, and. 9.5 assists. It included posting five triple-doubles and scoring at least 20 points in 13 of the 15 games played.

The Mavericks sit in the fifth spot in the Western Conference standings, only a game back of the Utah Jazz for the fourth position. As the trade deadline approaches, it looks likely that Dallas will stand pat once more.

NBA trade deadline: Luka Doncic and quiet Mavs may be stuck making the best with their current roster

The Mavericks have hit an upward trend, but it hasn’t quieted the trade rumor mill entirely.

Jalen Brunson’s name is floating around due to his breakout season while playing in the final year of his four-year, $6.1 million rookie contract. The 25-year-old has excelled in his increased role, averaging a career-high 15.7 points and 5.6 assists while shooting 50.2% from the floor and 34.7% from beyond the arc.

The Mavericks have remained mum on the trade front, especially with Brunson due to the team holding some significant interest in re-signing him. Longtime ESPN NBA insider and Mavs reporter Tim McMahon voiced during a recent appearance on The Lowe Post podcast that it would take a surprising offer to move the Villanova product.

“I have been assured that they will not move (Jalen) Brunson before the trade deadline unless it is, and I quote, a “What the bleep are they thinking type of offer?” McMahon said via HoopsHype.

Brunson’s breakout campaign has increased his league value while pushing the Mavericks toward wanting him locked into a long-term deal alongside Luka Doncic. Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus has reported that the young guard is eyeing a new deal around four years and $80 million.

Beyond that chatter around Brunson, the team doesn’t have any serious interest in moving any talent. The franchise reportedly wants to retain Dorian Finney-Smith, who is in the last year of his three-year, $12 million deal.

All that speaks to the Mavericks staying pat and rolling what they have through the second half of the season.

Mavericks need to land a star talent to pair with Luka Doncic

The trade deadline will likely come and go for the Mavericks, but the focus should shift to the grander picture.

Dallas hasn’t made any notable roster moves outside of acquiring Kristaps Porzingis and adding Tim Hardaway Jr. Porzingis hasn’t been the supporting talent the franchise envisioned him becoming next to Doncic. He’s struggled with his healthy and consistent production and impact on both ends of the floor.

The franchise was linked to Giannis Antetokounmpo, but that chatter quickly died down after the two-time league MVP re-signed a supermax extension with the Milwaukee Bucks. Dallas held a strong interest in Kawhi Leonard, but he inked a four-year, $176.2 million deal with the LA Clippers. At some point, the Mavericks need to add a superstar to pair alongside Luka Doncic if they want to become legitimate NBA title contenders.

Doncic has led the franchise to be a playoff constant, but that has become the ceiling without any star talent. The Mavericks must push in free agency to lure in another game-changing player in free agency, such as Bradley Beal or James Harden.

Dallas may not have the appeal as a desired landing spot. Still, if the franchise can’t put the necessary talent around Doncic to compete for a championship, he will consider other options. It will hit a point where the star forward will want to play elsewhere to accomplish that ultimate goal.

The clock isn’t ticking on the Mavericks, but it could get there quite soon.

Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.

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