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Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Will Mavs wheel and deal at No. 17?

By Jeff Caplan

If Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson, never shy to pull off a draft day deal, were ever going to hold onto a draft pick, this would seem to be a good time.

The draft is deep enough at multiple positions that at No. 17 the Mavs should be able to take the best available player and turn him into a rotation player next season. That's the goal for a team that has only a handful of players under contract and needs to start collecting young, athletic talent that will help keep the payroll down.

"At 17," said Mavs president of basketball operation Donnie Nelson, "you absolutely want to come away with a player."

Other options are to put together a package that might entice a team looking to move out of the top 10. Nelson said he didn't see much difference in players who could go in the range of 12-17, so moving up a few spots doesn't seem like it's in the strategy. Whether the Mavs could muster a package to crack the top 10 is yet to be seen.

Or the Mavs could trade down. Nelson wouldn't rule out a potential trade one way or the other, but he does believe that picking at No. 17 is pretty solid ground in accordance with the club's current needs.

"I can’t tell you; it’s one of those draft day things," Nelson said of making a move. "We do have some situations that are contingent on certain guys getting there. Whether we pull the trigger on those remains to be seen. If we do flip down, we won’t do so unless we know that there’s going to be a player that we really like and could get at 17 that we could otherwise get a little bit lower. It’s a possibility."