clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How the Brandan Wright trade could haunt the Mavericks

Wright has made his way to one of Dallas' rivals. Will the initial deal haunt the Mavericks?

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

In December, the Mavericks pulled the trigger on a major move, sending Brandan Wright, a pick and spare parts to the Celtics to nab Rajon Rondo. The trade has worked out well as Dallas has shot up the defensive rankings and the standings. (The Mavs are up to No. 16 in defense after starting the season in the bottom third, and are at No. 3 in the West.) But on Friday the Celtics flipped Wright for another pick in the course of its pawn job. And the team Boston sent Wright to -- the Suns -- runs in Dallas' competitive circles. Could this be a problem for the Mavericks come playoff time?

It's possible, if not likely. Dallas is going to land somewhere from No. 2 to No. 7 in the West bracket. Phoenix could probably get as high as No. 4, but seems more likely to be in the No. 6-8 range (or out of the bracket completely). There is a small chance the two could meet up in the first round of the playoffs in a 3-6 or 2-7 matchup. But that's certainly a small possibility given all of the moving parts.

What Dallas ought to worry about is Wright adding so much value to the Suns' frontcourt that Phoenix becomes a potential second-round foe, a team that goes on a run late in the season, overwhelms a first-round opponent and becomes a matchup nightmare with that guard assault plus one of the league's best finishers in Wright. When you consider Alex Len's improvement, the Morris twins and Miles Plumlee in addition to Wright -- that's a pretty solid frontcourt!

The Mavericks ought to worry they indirectly helped build another legit contender in the West. That depends on how Wright's game translates and how well the rest of the squad holds up. Phoenix only gave up Minnesota's top-12 protected pick in the deal; that will likely end up as two seconds down the road. That the Suns gave up no on-court performance to get Wright is a potential problem for everyone in the West. But the pain will be most acutely felt by Dallas if we end up with a Suns-Mavs pairing at some point.

There's also the matter of Wright's Bird rights. There have been rumors that despite giving up his Bird rights by trading him to Boston, Dallas believed they could lure the big man back in July and sign him into the future. But now Phoenix has his Bird rights and a winning environment, which could hurt the Mavericks' chances of bringing him back.

Dallas would almost assuredly do the deal again even knowing that a West team would get Wright weeks later. But it's a wrinkle worth considering regardless.


Get news, links and Ziller's #hottakes in your inbox every weekday morning.