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Deal of the Day: The Risks of Trading Davis Bertans

What else might it take to move Bertans’ contract?

Dallas Mavericks v Washington Wizards Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Today’s deal is born out of a recent challenge to find a new home for Davis Bertans and his contract. He’s owed a ton and not currently in the rotation. The hard truth is that there aren’t many players out there comparable to what’s owed to Davis at his current production. The pieces coming back are not going to be without warts, chunky, misshapen warts. It’s going to take worthwhile assets to make a deal.

What Might it Take to Move Davis Bertans?

Washington trades Kyle Kuzma, Davis Bertans, Montrezl Harrell and Aaron Holiday to the Dallas Mavericks for Kristaps Porzingis, Reggie Bullock and Frank Ntilikina.

Why do the Mavericks do the deal?

We discussed the surging Cavaliers, slightly less surging after last night’s loss in Houston. (They could have used Dinwiddie huh?) We’ve dealt with the Grizzlies of Memphis. Today it’s 29-23 Dallas Mavericks, currently 5th in the Western Conference winners of 6 of their last 10.

The Porzingod is owed $69.85M through the end of the 23-24 season. For the Mavs this is a deal to break up a big salary chunk into more manageable pieces in future years while gaining impact of consistent contributors.

It’s not that Kristaps is playing terribly. When KP plays he’s averaging 19-8-2. He leads the Mavs in Wins Added and D-LEBRON. It’s the inefficiency that gets ya. He’s shooting a career worst from 3pt territory, 28%, while making over $31M this year.

With Porzingis the discussion can’t go too far before delving into the primary ability, availability. We aren’t even to the All Star break and he’s already missed 18 of their 52 games. Last season he played in 43 contests and only managed 57 the year before that coming off an ACL injury. By dealing him the Mavericks are looking to add some certainty to their lineups without too much drop off. Not all of the salary coming back is going to be “good” salary, enter Davis.

Dallas adds 26 year old Kyle Kuzma (16-9-3 in 33mpg) as the main asset of the deal. Klutchma is under contract through at least the end of next season when he’ll have the opportunity to exercise his player option for 23-24.

The Mavs also add center Montrezl Harrell (14-7-2) to replace some interior minutes, if not the shot blocking, that KP provides. Dallas could use a dose of the energy and grind that Trez provides. He’s an expiring contract so they’re off that money but I could see them engaging him to return in the future if the rest of this season goes well.

Of course to get someone on a deal as friendly as Kuzma’s and as productive as Harrell has been Dallas needs to take some warts back too. In this case that’s David Bertans and the $49M owed to him after this season. Yes some of that is un-guaranteed but any NBA franchise acquiring DB has to take a sober look at the potential ramifications, aka total salary. Dallas has to hope they can rehabilitate his shooting, which in any other year makes him dangerous after crossing half court. He can create some space for Luka. The Mavs have looked to add similar player profiles in the past (Maxi Kleber, Nicolo Melli).

The basketball reasons against this would be that Davis does some of his best work in transition but the Mavs are 27th in pace under Jason Kidd. Davis hasn’t been a stranger to the inactive list due to injury either.

Maybe the Latvian fanbase can easily sway from KP to DB?

Holiday is included, essentially swapping him with Frank Ntilikina to help even out the salaries. The Wizards are not going over the tax threshold for any reason this season. Holiday provides a short term 3rd PG on an expiring contract.

Dallas includes Reggie Bullock (Tar Heel) a recent FA signee that hasn’t shot as well this season (34%) as he has for his career (39%) or as well as he did last year for the Knicks (41%). Bullock turns 31 next month and has 2 more years at 10M per season on his contract.

Why do the Wizards do the deal?

There are few certainties in life beyond death and taxes. Tommy Sheppard’s interest in international players, with a specific eye towards the Baltics, could easily be considered a 3rd. Sheppard has shown interest in acquiring Porzingis from the Mavericks in the past. However he never had the mix of veteran assets and expiring contracts like he does right now. This deal would land him a unicorn, albeit a part time one.

The Wizards are intrigued by KP for the same reasons draft evaluators, Knicks and Mavericks were. He’s 7’3, blocks shots and can shoot from distance. However, his 3pt percentage ebbs and flows. He shot 39.5% in his last year with the Knicks. Just last season he hit 37.6% but 21-22 has not been as efficient, hitting only 28% this season. His career average is below league average at 35%.

It would take adding Kuzma in part because the Wizards aren’t going to risk a future FRP on the oft injured Porzingis. Dallas still owes the Knicks a protected pick in ‘23 and have asked teams interested in KP to make up for that pick to get a deal done.

The Wizards take back Bullock and his salary hoping he can find his shooting touch again while providing plus defense. The gamble there is age and whether he can recreate his elite form at 32 and 33 years old. Love my Heels but Bullock is no Vince Carter.

After just this move, the roster would look like this:

  • Dinwiddie - Neto - Winston
  • Beal - Bullock - Ntilikina
  • KCP - Avdija - Kispert
  • Porzingis - Hachimura - Todd
  • Gafford - Bryant - Gill

In many ways this is the anti-Sabonis deal. Both are young talented center/forwards. Sabonis lacks ideal height to play center while Porzingis towers at 7’3. Sabonis doesn’t shoot it from deep while KP has shown he can. Meanwhile KP isn’t the playmaker or elite screen assist-er that Sabonis is. And the salary is wildly different with Sabonis owed less than $40M over the next two seasons while Kristpas is owed almost $70M.

Poll

Trade this package for Porzingis and Bullock?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Yes, it’s worth dealing Kuz to also shed Bertans while taking chances on Porzingis and Bullock.
    (66 votes)
  • 77%
    No Deal, we’re giving up too much just to jettison salary.
    (563 votes)
  • 13%
    No Deal, Dallas isn’t trading KP without getting a pick or picks back.
    (99 votes)
728 votes total Vote Now

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