The Dallas Mavericks couldn't have asked for a better start to the 2023-24 NBA season. Jason Kidd's squad is 11-6 through their first 17 outings, putting them two games back of the Western Conference lead and on pace for a fourth playoff appearance in five seasons.
But anyone who follows the NBA knows that contending teams are rarely satisfied with the status quo. After all, February's trade deadline will be here in no time, meaning it won't be long before championship-cashing teams turn to the trade market to improve their title odds by any means necessary.
If the Mavericks want to take home the Larry O'Brien Trophy for the first time in over a decade, general manager Nico Harrison might want to consider the trade below.
Mavericks Trade Rumors: Kuzma to Dallas?
Bleacher Report's Zach Buckley suggests that the Mavericks should acquire Kyle Kuzma from the Washington Wizards. Even though the 28-year-old has made it clear that he has zero issues staying in the nation's capital, the Wizards are in rebuild mode and could opt to trade him to help improve their future assets.
In the theoretical deal, the Mavs acquire Kuzma in exchange for veterans Richaun Holmes and Maxi Kleber, rookie Olivier-Maxence Prosper, a 2027 first-round pick (top-3 protected), and a 2018 first-round pick swap.
While Derick Jones Jr. has been decent as Dallas' starting small forward (13.9 PPG on .486/.381/.739 splits), it's easy to see how Kuzma, who's played the position before, would be an upgrade. The seventh-year veteran is averaging career highs in both points (23.4) and assists (4.8) this season while shooting 47.1% from the floor and 36.3% from three-point range — both of which are also personal bests.
Kuzma is also signed through the 2026-27 campaign at an average cap hit of $22.5 million per season, meaning he'd also be a part of the Mavs' core for years to come.
As for the Wizards, Prosper — drafted 24th overall this year — and the first-round pick (plus the swap) are the main things they'd find appealing about this deal. Holmes is on a one-year deal with a player option at the end of the year, meaning he could easily be a part of a sign-and-trade in the offseason, while Kleber could fill in for Kuzma at the power forward spot.
Having said that, Kuzma isn't eligible to be traded until Jan. 15, 2024, due to the new deal he signed over the offseason. Still, I wouldn't be shocked if the Mavericks target him considering how he was on their radar during free agency, per Action Network's Matt Moore.
For now, the Mavericks are tied for the seventh-best odds to win the 2023-24 NBA Finals, leaving time to tell if and how much a potential Kuzma deal would improve those odds.
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