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3 reasons why a Goran Dragic trade is a must for the Dallas Mavericks

Alan Johnson
Goran Dragic, Dallas Mavericks
Mar 28, 2019; Miami, FL, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Luka Doncic (L) and Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) talk after the game at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

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While the Dallas Mavericks made a few moves in free agency, fans are clamoring for the new regime to pull off a Goran Dragic trade. While it might be costly, acquiring Dragic to play alongside Luka Doncic is a must.

Dallas added quality depth to its rotation this summer. Reggie Bullock and Sterling Brown are efficient three-point specialists who can excel next to Luka Doncic. However, the Mavericks have still not addressed their need for a secondary creator.

Trade rumors are heavily linking them to Goran Dragic and his interest in Dallas is likely mutual. But Toronto Raptors’ trade demands are standing in the way. While the cost may be high, the Mavs need to do everything in their power to land him.

Goran Dragic is the perfect secondary ball handler

Last season, Doncic led the NBA in usage rate (35.9%), a full point higher than Stephen Curry and Bradley Beal. While the perennial NBA MVP candidate likes holding the ball, both he and the Mavericks would benefit from adding another playmaker.

Tim Hardaway, Jr. is a solid offensive player, but never passes up a shot. Jalen Brunson can create for others but isn’t proving he can run an offense. Everyone else on the Mavs’ roster shoots threes or plays down low — Doncic is the only true offensive creator.

If Dragic came to Dallas, he would instantly be the second-best creator on the roster. He’s shown he can run an NBA offense in Miami, even coming off the bench and leading the second unit offense. There’s even proof Dragic can play with Doncic, given won the 2017 Eurobasket tournament as teammates for Slovenia.

The value of an expiring contract

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Miami Heat
May 7, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (L) shoots the ball while defended by Minnesota Timberwolves guards Anthony Edwards (1) and Jaylen Nowell (4) during the second half against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat dealt Dragic to Toronto in the Kyle Lowry sign-and-trade. He was so integral to the trade because of his $19.4 million expiring contract. Miami couldn’t match salary with the Raptors without Dragic’s salary and the Raptors only took him on because expiring contracts are so valuable.

If Dallas acquired Dragic, suddenly it has a big expiring contract to match salaries for a star. If someone like Bradley Beal or Karl-Anthony Towns becomes available, the Mavs would have valuable cap relief for a rebuilding team. Dragic, young players like Josh Green and Tyrell Terry, plus first-round picks may be enough for a big trade.

Even if Dallas can’t swing a mid-season trade, Dragic’s salary would come off the books in 2022. No team would offer Dragic anything close to $19.4 million, so Dallas could bring him back and gain cap space.

Goran Dragic provides veteran leadership

Goran Dragic, Luka Doncic
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Since losing Dirk Nowitzki and J.J. Barea, the Mavericks have lacked veteran leadership. The two best players on the team — Doncic and Porzingis — are still young and haven’t won a playoff series. Even the older players like Dwight Powell have little playoff experience. 

Dragic is a consummate professional and has played in 56 playoff games. He was instrumental during Miami’s NBA Finals run in 2020. The Slovenian is still a productive player and can mentor guys like Green, Terry, and Moses Brown. No one else on the trade blocks fits that criteria. If Dallas wants to go farther in the playoffs, they need veterans like Dragic.

Dragic has a strong connection with Doncic. They played well together for the Slovenian National Team and they spend time together off the court. Acquiring Dragic will go a long way to making Doncic happy in Dallas.

If the rumors are true and Dallas doesn’t want to pay Dragic’s salary or part with Dwight Powell in a trade, the front office risks alienating their star. Even after Doncic’s huge extension, Dallas should do everything to make their MVP candidate happy. By trading for Goran Dragic, they appease Doncic while filling a huge need in the roster.