Enter the Dallas Mavericks.
It’s no secret that the Mavs still need to find a way to replace Jalen Brunson’s playmaking and scoring role from last season. They can do this by adding a new player or hoping someone from the current roster explodes this 2022-23. They did significantly improve their frontline this summer with the additions of Christian Wood and JaVale McGee, but this doesn’t do much to compensate for the Brunson-shaped void in their backcourt.
While putting Spencer Dinwiddie beside Luka Doncic in the starting lineup helps, it also creates a playmaking gap on the bench. That is, unless Josh Green, a third-year player who has displayed flashes of his ability as a terrific passer, or Frenchman Frank Ntilikina can shock everyone by swiftly adjusting to that role.
The reality is the Mavs will have to go outside the box to find a replacement for Brunson. Free agency isn’t an option when you’re capped out. If they wish to seek assistance from a different team, they will need to locate a trading partner, and the Cavs may be that partner.
This is where making a play for Collin Sexton makes sense for the Mavs. He may be the ideal replacement for Brunson. Over the course of his four-year career, the 23-year-old has averaged 20.0 points, 3.0rebounds, and 3.3 assists while shooting 45.8 percent from the field and 37.8 percent from 3-point range. Dallas, however, is unable to move quickly because of salary cap restrictions.
Having said that, here’s an interesting sign-and-trade scenario that could make sense for both the Mavs and the Cavs.
— MFFL (8-6) (@Mavs_FFL) August 20, 2022
Collin Sexton: A sign-and-trade with Mavs that makes sense for Cavs
Mavs Get: Collin Sexton
Cavs Get: Dwight Powell, Maxi Kleber, 2024 first-round pick, 2026 first-round pick
According to several sources, the Mavs and Cavs have probably already talked about potential sign-and-trade options. So far, however, the Cavs aren’t very interested in what the Mavs are offering for Sexton… yet.
Keep in mind that the Cavs would be taking on further debt after 2023 if they accept Spencer Dinwiddie in a trade. He is set to make $20 million in the upcoming year. The same also applies to Tim Hardaway Jr. and a few of the other Mavs players.
For the Mavs, this might also not make much sense. That’s because trading either Dinwiddie or Hardaway for Sexton still leaves the same roster need that Sexton’s acquisition is intended to solve.
Knowing that the Cavs don’t want to take on future pay, however, they may be interested in a combo of Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber. Remember that both have contracts that expire this season. This doesn’t lock the Cavs in when it comes to salary, and it gives them a lot of room to make more moves in 2023.
Of course, this only makes sense for Cleveland if Dallas adds at least one future first-round pick as well. For good measure, the Mavs should just make it two future first-round picks. This is where they’ll add their 2024 and 2024 first-rounders. That’d be a real sweetener even the Cavs will find very difficult to pass on.
Collin Sexton is a combo guard with a focus on scoring to play off of Luka Doncic. He would be a good replacement for Brunson. They each perform their best job in their own unique ways. Still, the end result is an explosive and effective offensive.
When Sexton was healthy for the 2020–21 season, he scored 23.4 points per contest. Even if he won’t have as many opportunities with the Mavs, that demonstrates his ability to shoulder the offensive load for extended periods. It should also relieve Doncic of some of the scoring pressure.
It also makes their backcourt that much more potent, especially with Tim Hardaway Jr. returning from injury and Spencer Dinwiddie already in the fold. They make a scary wing combo right anchored on Doncic’s brilliance.
Considering that their playing time will decrease as a result of the additions of Christian Wood and JaVale McGee, this might also be a welcome move for both Kleber and Powell. On the Cavs’ side, their combined salaries will be used to match Sexton’s for this season.
Dallas makes sense as potential Cavs' trade partner to Collin Sexton after Jalen Brunson left the Mavs in the offseason. pic.twitter.com/GAN01crruO
— Mavs Nation (@MavsNationCP) August 20, 2022
The squad would also benefit from Maxi Kleber’s increased versatility in the frontcourt. He provides some rim protection and can make 3-pointers. Off the bench, he contributed significantly to the Mavericks’ success in the postseason. In fact, he played more minutes than the starting center, Powell. With Kleber possibly on the Cavs’ roster, players like Kevin Love might even be no longer necessary. This is especially true should they require a significant deal to match wages in future trades.
Powell also gives added depth to the Cavs’ frontcourt. A Kleber-Powell duo would be a solid backup corps to the starting unit composed of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley.
Perhaps most importantly, however, the expiring contracts on Kleber and Powell provide much-desired and much-needed flexibility for the Cavs. Having both players for this season won’t tie the Cavs down moving forward. On the one hand, this means they can go after more pieces next offseason. On the other hand, if the Cavs do want to keep Kleber and/or Powell, they can do so as well.
The future picks also ensure a steady flow of talent for the Cavs. Those are always good assets, whether they actually want to use them in the draft or as potential trade equity as well. The fact of the matter is with their youthful player group, the Cavs are progressing. Having more draft assets will make it simpler for them to add seasoned talent in the future as they continue to evolve.