during the first half of a game at Staples Center on November 8, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The Dallas Mavericks aren’t a good basketball team – and for the first time in the Dirk-era, it’s time for the organization to actively tank.

Tanking isn’t an easy proposition for a team which hasn’t had a losing record since the new millennium. But, barring an impossible string of wins, the Mavericks season is already lost. Ravished by injuries to key veterans Nowitzki, Deron Williams, Andrew Bogut and J.J. Barea, Dallas stands with little chance in the West with an ever-changing group of lineup combinations including minutes from the undrafted Dorian Finney-Smith, Nicolas Brussino, and Seth Curry.

The team’s most recent loss, a 31-point blowout verses the hapless Sacramento Kings at home, is the latest evidence towards a rebuild, or at least, a retooling. Four wins in 21 games is an impossible hurdle to overcome.

The organization remains tight-lipped about tanking but those in the Mavs organization, Mark Cuban included, must realize it’s time for some change. No, I’m not suggesting Nowitzki get traded, but maximizing on some still-valued assets now, will give Dallas a better long-term outlook.

On the Mavericks roster, there’s two untouchable players: Harrison Barnes and Dirk. Beyond that, the organization shouldn’t think twice about trading anyone for the right price. Shooting guard Wes Matthews is a high-volume outside threat with some defensive value. Point guard Deron Williams can still provide good minutes for a team looking to improve the point or get a vet backup. But, the most obvious trade candidate is Andrew Bogut.

Bogut, currently out for a week with a bone bruise, was practically given to the Mavericks by Golden State for a conditional second-round pick, in their effort to clear cap to sign Kevin Durant. Bogut was the defensive core of last season’s record-breaking Warriors, providing steady defense in the paint with above-average shot blocking and rebounding.  In Dallas, Bogut has continued to rebound with authority and display great post-defense. In 16 games, he’s averaging 10.4 rebounds, 0.9 blocks, but just 3.8 points per game. Gone are the days the 32-year-old Aussie averages double digits in points, but Bogut is still a capable starting center.

On the last year of his current deal, making $11 million, the Mavericks will have suitors for Bogut. The most obvious of which is the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics are a miserable rebounding team with no real defensive stopper at the five. The Celtics rank 25th in the NBA with just 42.3 rebounds per game.  Behind Al Horford and Amir Johnson (who average fewer combined rebounds per game than Horford) is a whole slew of question marks.Tyler Zeller, who signed a two-year $16 million deal (second-year not guaranteed) hasn’t shown to be much of an impact player. Former first-round pick Kelly Olynyk can stretch the floor but provides little value defensively.

The Celtics have the assets to make a deal happen. When Zeller’s trade restriction is over (Jan. 14), Boston could offer Zeller, point guard Terry Rozier (the Mavs need point guards) and a draft pick for Bogut. The Celtics get a defensive stopper who can anchor their defense, while the Mavs get Rozier and a pick while being able to shed Zeller’s salary after the season.

As Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported on Friday, the Portland Trail Blazers are another real option.

Portland is 21st in rebounding and 28th in points per game against. Their defense is atrocious. Mason Plumlee is a solid contributor, but better coming off the bench as an energy guy. Besides him, the Blazers have used Meyers Leonard (who provides no defensive value) and Ed Davis (who can’t go up against legit centers) at the position. Bogut would be an upgrade.

Would the Mavericks take the raw but potential-filled Noah Vonleh and a bad contract (Leonard) plus a pick for Bogut? That might be aiming too high but there are enough pieces for both teams to make a deal that makes sense.

Wherever he plays at the end of the season, it seems a certainty Andrew Bogut won’t be a Maverick by season’s end.

About Liam McGuire

Social +Staff writer for The Comeback & Awful Announcing. Liammcguirejournalism@gmail.com