The 2022-23 NBA regular season couldn’t have possibly gone much worse for the Dallas Mavericks. After making it all the way to the Western Conference Finals one year ago, the Mavericks entered this season with high expectations. And those expectations became even higher Dallas traded for star point guard Kyrie Irving prior to the February trade deadline.
But fast forward to the current day, and the Mavericks ended the campaign with a 38-44 record and missed out on the play-in tournament. With this in mind, it’s clear that changes need to be made this summer if Dallas wants to regain its contender status in the Western Conference. So let’s take a look at one player that the Mavericks would be wise to trade sometime during the 2023 NBA offseason:
1 player Mavericks must trade in 2023 NBA offseason
Dallas Mavericks center Christian Wood functioned as a double-edged sword on the court in his first season with the team. On the offensive side of the ball, he was very productive. His 16.6 points per game average was the third-highest on the team, behind only Luka Doncic and Irving, and he pulled down the second-most offensive rebounds per game of any Maverick (1.3).
But for all the good that Wood did on offense for the Mavericks, his presence really hurt the team on the other side of the ball. Dallas allowed 2.8 points more per 100 possessions with Wood on the floor compared to when he was off this season, which ranks in the 25th percentile among all bigs, per Cleaning the Glass. Wood’s poor positioning and IQ on defense ultimately kept him from receiving consistent minutes from head coach Jason Kidd.
Wood is maybe the top offensive big man that the Mavericks have had on their roster since the ghost of Dirk Nowitzki, but he arguably hurt the team on defense more than he helped them on offense this season, so the Mavericks should look to unload him via trade ASAP. And one team in particular, the Boston Celtics, makes a lot of sense both as a trading partner for Dallas and a destination for Wood.
The Mavs should really consider a sign-and-trade in which they send Wood to the Celtics in exchange for Grant Williams, another soon-to-be free agent. While Williams isn’t close to the scoring talent that Wood is, his three-and-d skillset would fit the Mavericks like a glove. In his fourth year in the NBA, Williams has emerged as both a knockdown three-pointer (39.5%) and one of the more versatile defenders in basketball. He spent 349 minutes defending forwards, 288 minutes on guards, and 160 minutes on centers this year, per NBA.com.
While it’s clear that Williams’ ability to defend multiple positions and shoot the ball from the three-point line could help the Mavericks win games, Christian Wood could help the Celtics do the same. After all, the Celtics need more big man depth behind centers Al Horford and Robert Williams — Blake Griffin and Mike Muscala have had flashes of brilliance, but neither are classified as centers.
Here’s to hoping that the Mavericks see the writing on the wall and decide to end the Christian Wood experiment this offseason. His time in Dallas clearly didn’t pan out the way the Mavericks’ front office envisioned it would, so it would probably be best for the two sides to go their separate ways.