The Dallas Mavericks didn’t take long to settle on a plan to fill a big void created by a season-ending injury to center Dwight Powell.
The Mavericks are set to acquire Willie Cauley-Stein from the Golden State Warriors for a second-round pick in this year’s draft, three people with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press.
Two of the people said Mavs intends to make room for Cauley-Stein on the roster by waiving Justin Patton, acquired in a separate trade with Oklahoma City. The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the Cauley-Stein deal can’t be finalized until Patton is waived.
The Mavericks made the moves three days after Powell, their starting center, tore his right Achilles tendon against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Thunder sent cash along with Patton to Dallas for rookie Isaiah Roby.
The 7-foot Cauley-Stein, who missed all of training camp and the exhibition games because of a left foot injury, is averaging 7.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists and a team-leading 1.22 blocks in 41 games with 37 starts for the Warriors. He has scored in double figures 17 times.
A video of Cauley-Stein was still included on Golden State’s Twitter feed for “Game Day” ahead of a matchup Friday night against the Pacers at Chase Center.
The No. 6 pick in the 2015 draft, Cauley-Stein averaged 10.1 points and 6.4 rebounds with the Sacramento Kings during the 2018-19 season before joining the Warriors.
While not addressing the proposed trade specifically, coach Steve Kerr said before the game Marquese Chriss would start at center.
“January is a tough month for a lot of reasons,” Kerr said. “I played on a lot of teams in my career — six teams for 15 years. There was always a time where you got a little bit nervous.
“One of the biggest things to do as a coach is to make sure you are communicating with your guys and staying in touch with everybody and making sure everyone is doing OK, but also acknowledging the realities of our job and our work.”
Powell, a secondary piece in Dallas’ ill-fated trade for Rajon Rondo five years ago, has evolved into an important contributor for the resurgent Mavericks, particularly alongside second-year sensation Luka Doncic.
Dallas is tied with Houston for fifth in the Western Conference and well on the way to earning its first playoff spot in four years, the franchise’s longest stretch without reaching the postseason in 20 years.
The 28-year-old Powell was averaging 9.4 points and 5.7 rebounds, numbers that spiked while 7-foot-3 forward Kristaps Porzingis was sidelined for 10 games with right knee soreness.
Powell went down with a non-contract injury in the first quarter of a 110-107 loss to the Clippers. Teammate J.J. Barea — who tore his right Achilles tendon last season — was distraught as Powell was taken off the court.
Patton was the 16th overall pick by Chicago in 2017 but has played sparingly in three seasons with three teams: Minnesota, Philadelphia and Oklahoma City.
Roby was a second-round pick by the Mavericks in 2019 and has yet to make his NBA debut. He’s been shuffling back and forth between the Mavericks and the Texas Legends, their G-League affiliate.