Dallas Mavericks Trade Talk: Victor Oladipo Likely Available

The Dallas Mavericks sure could use a guy like Victor Oladipo right about now.

Tis the season for knee-jerk reactions. With the Dallas starting 0-2 this season, it’s easy to overreact. After all, Dallas is supposed to take that “next step” this year and claim a top-4 spot in the West. A winless December doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in reaching that goal, no matter how premature conclusions may be.

So now is the perfect time to talk trades, whether they are premature reactions or not. And someone like Victor Oladipo is far from a knee-jerk suggestion – he’s someone Mavs fans have had their eyes on for quite some time. And it looks like he’ll be on the trade market this season…

According to Bob Kravitz at the Athletic, Victor Oladipo is going to be traded by the deadline. He was told from one unnamed NBA executive,

“He’s gone. They’ll move him.”

Kravitz goes on to explain the “how” and the “why” regarding Oladipo’s impending move out of Indiana.

First, Victor is a free agent after this season and if Indiana doesn’t think they can re-sign the 6-foot-4 guard, they will look to move him. Dallas, fully in the market for a good two-way player to pair with Luka Doncic, could use him to get over the hump this season, and to build around going forward. If Oladipo can have the bounce-back season many are expecting, he could be that third star in Dallas.

It’s a bit of a make-or-break season for Oladipo. His up and down career has been directly related to his health. If he can stay healthy this year and continue to play like he has been, he’ll be in line for a max deal. If he can’t, his value falls somewhere in limbo and whoever he’s playing for at the time, would have a hard time justifying a new contract.

Most teams have positioned themselves to be flush with cash next summer. But with players proactively re-signing this winter, the future market is dwindling, and teams are likely going to overpay on whoever hits the market this summer.

Should the Dallas Mavericks press for a trade?

The short answer is “no”, but that requires a bit of an explanation; If he keeps playing like he is, Victor Oladipo is a great fit on the Dallas Mavericks. He’d slide right in and rival Kristaps Porzingis as the No. 2 star of the team.

But there are two problems:

  1. The Mavs don’t have much trade capital
  2. The Mavs don’t know who the real Oladipo is

No. 1: the Mavs don’t have much to offer in return. Aside from expiring contracts and second round picks, Dallas doesn’t have much to offer in return. Future firsts and Maxi Kleber could sweeten the pot but not enough to put the Mavs in the front of any bidding war. Unless the Pacers were trying to shed additional ugly contracts, Dallas doesn’t have much to offer.

No. 2: signing Oladipo to a max extension is still a gamble. He hasn’t played 40+ games since the 2017-18 season. And in his seven NBA seasons, he’s only averaged 20+ points once. That’s a risky proposition on a guy that turns 29-years old this summer.

Dallas knows all-too-well it’s just as much about the guys you don’t sign as much as it is about the guys you do sign. Dallas is lucky guys like Nerlens Noel, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan, and Deron Williams all shunned them, because all of these guys turned out to be busts relative to their contracts. A high risk guy like Oladipo could be the same.

That doesn’t mean the Mavs should turn their back on Victor either. He still looks like a great free agent target next summer. If he can have a good 2020-21 season, he’d have proven his value and put some of that aforementioned risk to bed (to some extent, at least). Better yet, the Mavs wouldn’t have to give anything up to get him.

In the meantime, the Dallas Mavericks get to see how the Josh Richardson experiment goes. He could prove to be just as good as Oladipo this season and just as worthy of a new contract next summer.

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At this point, the plan has to be to stay the course and give the Doncic-Porzingis-Richardson trio a real try. There’s every reason to be patient.