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NBA Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder (35-16) at Dallas Mavericks (29-23)

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks were tied together at the NBA trade deadline after both made deals with the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday to bolster their playoff hopes.

Then the Thunder helped facilitate another Mavericks deal with the Washington Wizards, acquiring a draft pick swap down the road.

On Saturday, the Mavericks and Thunder square off in Dallas.

Dallas came into the trade deadline wanting to add size and frontcourt depth, and the Mavericks helped that cause with a pair of trades.

The Mavericks sent Seth Curry, Grant Williams and a 2027 first-round pick to Charlotte for forward P.J. Washington and two second-round picks.

Washington is averaging 13.6 points and shooting 44.6 percent from the floor, while forward Williams averaged 8.1 points and was shooting 41.3 percent before the trade.

Dallas also acquired center Daniel Gafford from the Wizards in exchange for Richaun Holmes and a 2024 first-round pick. Oklahoma City acquired swap rights for the Mavericks’ 2028 first-round pick in the deal.

While the moves were about Dallas’ long-term plans, they also could help in the short term as Mavericks’ starting center Dereck Lively II likely will miss his sixth consecutive game Saturday with a broken nose.

After six losses in eight games, the Mavericks rebounded to sweep their recent three-game road trip, including wins over the Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks.

The Thunder haven’t played since Tuesday. The layoff is their longest stretch between games since early December.

While Dallas’ newcomers could make their team debuts Saturday, it’ll be a bit of time before Oklahoma City’s newest acquisition is ready to play.

The Thunder traded Tre Mann, Davis Bertans and Vasilije Micic to the Hornets for veteran forward Gordon Hayward.

Hayward hasn’t played since Dec. 26 due to a calf strain.

While Hayward is at least close to being able to return physically, Oklahoma City coach Mark Daigneault said Friday that Hayward wouldn’t make his Thunder debut until after the All-Star break.

Hayward will add experience to a Thunder roster that is the second-youngest in the league.

While the Thunder won’t have Hayward against the Mavericks, they are hoping for the return of guard Isaiah Joe.

Joe has missed the last four games with a bruised sternum but returned to practice Friday. Joe leads the Thunder with 2.0 3-pointers per game, shooting 42.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Saturday’s game is the second of four between the teams this season.

Oklahoma City won 126-120 on Dec. 2 in Dallas. The Thunder led that game by 23 entering the fourth before the Mavericks outscored them in the fourth, 36-19.

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