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The Dallas Mavericks wanted to upgrade their frontcourt. They got that done by trading for one of the more underrated centers in the NBA. In exchange, the Washington Wizards added some additional draft capital as they continue their rebuild.

Here are the particulars:

Dallas Mavericks acquire: Daniel Gafford

Washington Wizards acquire: Richaun Holmes, 2024 first-round pick via the Thunder

Let’s dive in!

Dallas Mavericks

Incoming salary: $12.4 million in 2023-24

  • Daniel Gafford (C, three years, $40.2 million)

Outgoing salary: $12.0 million in 2023-24

  • Richaun Holmes (C, two years, $24.9 million, player option for 2024-25)

Dallas was motivated to build up their frontcourt. They accomplished that in a pair of trade deadline moves that saw the team acquire Daniel Gafford and P.J. Washington. We’re going to focus on the Gafford acquisition now, and we’ll hit on the Washington in a separate piece.

Gafford is in the midst of the best year of his career. He’s started in 45 games he’s played, and Gafford has averaged 10.9 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game.

It’s the latter two stats that are particularly encouraging for Gafford. He’s been an improved defender, even if that gets lost somewhat in the overall sloppiness of the Wizards team defense. The 25-year-old big man is also a solid rebounder. That’s been a weakness for Dallas this season and one Gafford should help shore up.

For the Mavericks, Gafford is probably coming off the bench. He’ll replace Dwight Powell as the primary backup for Dereck Lively II. That gives Dallas three very capable centers that they can use at any time. That’s important because Lively has had some issues staying on the floor. The Mavs can now make sure he’s fully ready to play, because they have Gafford in the fold.

Dallas took on an extra year of salary in this deal, but it was only $14.4 million in 2025-26. That’ll be roughly equivalent to the Non-Taxpayer MLE. Gafford should return that much value with ease.

As for the draft pick compensation, the Mavs had to get a little creative. Dallas worked with the Oklahoma City Thunder to send a 2028 first-round pick swap to the Thunder for a 2024 first-round pick. That allowed the Mavs to route the draft compensation that the Wizards needed for Gafford.

Washington Wizards

Incoming salary: $12.0 million in 2023-24

  • Richaun Holmes (C, two years, $24.9 million, player option for 2024-25)

Outgoing salary: $12.4 million in 2023-24

  • Daniel Gafford (C, three years, $40.2 million)

The Wizards were able to get a first-round pick for Daniel Gafford. That’s something they couldn’t do in the Bradley Beal or Kristaps Porzingis trades.

Washington also got off an additional year of salary for Gafford in 2025-26 in this trade. As the Wizards continue along with the rebuild, additional draft capital and cap flexibility are desirable commodities.

There’s also a chance that Richaun Holmes could rehab his value as a member of the Wizards. The last two years have been mostly lost campaigns for the 30-year-old big man, but there’s still talent there.

As recently as 2021-22, Holmes averaged 10.4 points and 7.0 rebounds. He should get a chance to play for the Wizards. If Holmes can rebuild his value, it will help him, and it will help the Wizards by virtue of a potential re-trade down the line.