New Orleans Pelicans: The Dallas Mavericks are the trade partners the Pels need

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Pelicans
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

New Orleans Pelicans: What’s the appeal with Maxi Kleber?

Maxi Kleber is the less flashy, but equally important component of this hypothetical trade.

The German big man is currently in his fourth season in the NBA after coming over from European club Bayern Munich. He has been a key cog in Dallas’ second units ever since crossing the pond, developing into a lethal stretch big that would be a great fit next to Zion Williamson and Steven Adams.

Kleber moved into the Mavs’ starting lineups early this season, but he should have no problem coming off the bench for the Pels. He is shooting a lights-out 47 percent from three in his 24 games this season. That figure is no fluke either, as Kleber’s free throw percentages have always looked good and his perimeter shooting has taken a leap in all of his past seasons.

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If Pels fans are unfamiliar with the big German, then they should consider what Nicolò Melli’s ideal outcome was supposed to be. Melli was meant to inject New Orleans with a stretch big option that would punish opponents from beyond the arc and could interchangeably play the 4 and the 5.

In my mind, bringing Kleber over to the Smoothie King Center could see one of Nickeil Alexander-Walker or Kira Lewis Jr. shift over to the starting lineup for rotation purposes. Then, Kleber would likely share frontcourt minutes with one of Adams or Williamson. A unit such as Lonzo Ball, Josh Richardson, Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, and either Kleber or Adams would be formidable.

Kleber would likely allow the Pels to play “smaller” without giving up as much size as they do know. He is 6-foot-10, compared to Josh Hart when he plays at the 4, but would still maintain the level of flexibility and versatility that comes with sizing down.