Mavericks Trade For Pelicans’ Jonas Valanciunas In Bold Proposal

Jonas Valanciunas, Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Pelicans, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

Some will argue that in the NBA, the center has primarily become a defensive position. There’s a case to be made there. A big man who can protect the rim can make it much easier for an NBA team to organize their defense. At the same time, we shouldn’t dismiss big men with different skill sets, either. 

After all, NBA teams can use offense wherever they get it. All told, it probably depends on your roster construction. A team with offensive superstars who struggle on defense at other positions may want an anchor at the 5. Perhaps that’s why the New Orleans Pelicans are allegedly open to moving Jonas Valanciunas. As talented as he is, he’s not much of a defensive presence. 

The Pelicans should find a taker for him. Could the Dallas Mavericks be that taker? They lost some offense at the 5 this summer by letting Christian Wood walk. Could Valanciunas be his replacement? 

The Trade Proposal 

New Orleans Pelicans Receive: F/C Maxi Kleber, C Dwight Powell, 2027 First-Round Pick (Swap – DAL) 
Dallas Mavericks Receive: C Jonas Valanciunas 

 In some ways, Valanciunas is a perfect example of how the big man position has evolved – and is still evolving. At one point in NBA history, Valanciunas would have been an anomaly. A big man with pure center size who can stretch the floor? In the 90s, he could have been a superstar. 

So what if he couldn’t defend in space? Why would Valanciunas be defending in space? This is a big man. As long as he can hold his assignment, he’s good. Times change. In today’s league, big men are expected to survive switches. Valanciunas has slow feet – he can’t defend in space. If he could, we’d be talking about an entirely different player. 

NBA TRADES, NEWS & RUMORS: Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans & Dallas Mavericks Updates

That’s not to say Valanciunas isn’t valuable. He can score on the interior and from the perimeter. He also provides some value on the glass. Valanciunas is a good player – he just needs to find the right home. Should Dallas provide it? 

Why The Dallas Mavericks Do The Deal 

Dallas would have to pause for thought here. There’s no denying that. In all likelihood, they’ll want to be monitoring the progress of two other players: Richaun Holmes and Derrick Lively III. If Holmes is having a bounce-back season, or Lively III is surprisingly effective as a rookie, they should take an interest in Valanciunas. 

That may sound counterproductive. If one of their big men is playing well, they should get another big man? Yes. For Dallas, this is about diversifying their rotation. This team is lacking a third offensive option. They wouldn’t want to be solely relying on Valanciunas at the 5. On the other hand, if they’ve got a sturdy defensive presence at the position, they could use his services. 

NBA TRADES, NEWS & RUMORS: Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans & Dallas Mavericks Updates

Perhaps he’d function as a jumbo sixth man. Alternatively, they could put Valanciunas on the floor from the opening tip, and sub him out situationally. Either way, his offensive skillset could make a valuable addition to this team. Should the Pelicans send Valanciunas to Dallas? 

Why The New Orleans Pelicans Do The Deal 

Apparently, the Pelicans want a more defensive-minded big. This deal lands them a pair of them. Powell isn’t a great defender in space either, but he’s a better rim protector than Valanciunas. Meanwhile, Kleber has surprisingly quick feet that allow him to defend in a number of coverages. 

Of course, neither is necessarily an anchor. The Pelicans aren’t landing a long-term solution at the 5 here – but they are finding a short-term fix. In the meantime, they’re also landing a future pick swap. That’s fair value for a big man with Valanciunas’ defensive limitations. 

NBA TRADES, NEWS & RUMORS: Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans & Dallas Mavericks Updates

Finally, if the Pelicans want to move on, they should move on. They can target a big man in next year’s draft – this class is stacked with defensive 5s, and the Pelicans have two picks. Here, they’re simply getting market value for Valanciunas. After all, he doesn’t seem to be their idea of a modern big man. 

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