The Dallas Mavericks are still searching for their big man of the future, three years after the DeAndre Jordan free agency fiasco. With the Los Angeles Clippers All-Star at the center of trade chatter these days, it’s not too surprising to see several basketball pundits linking the Mavs as a potential trade suitor for Jordan. Still, the most important question is, will Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban be open to burying the hatchet with DJ?

Prior to the Mavs’ game against the Clippers on Friday (Dec. 1), Cuban was asked if he would be interested in pursuing Jordan, either on the trading front this year, or the free agency market in the summer of 2018.

As expected, the Mavs’ owner took the high road and he neither admits nor denies interest in the perennial All-NBA big man. All Cuban cares about are moves that would help the Dallas Mavericks regain its elite status.

Three paths in the Mavs’ big man search

According to Mavs beat writer Eddie Sefko of Dallas, the Mavericks have three options in their search for a franchise center: free agency, internal development, and the draft.

Option No. 1 is free agency. Elite bigs like Jordan and DeMarcus Cousins are expected to be available next July. Jordan is a better rebounder and shot blocker, while Cousins is an offensive juggernaut. The problem is the Mavs may not have enough space to attract one of these studs.

Pulling off a trade for an elite big man isn’t viable either since the Mavs don’t have many assets to throw in.

Option No. 2 is developing in-house talent. Rick Carlisle is a really good coach, but developing talent obviously isn’t one of his strengths. Former lottery pick Nerlens Noel is a rare commodity in the NBA. At 6-foot-11, Noel has the ability to protect the rim and cover guards out on the perimeter with his great mobility.

Unfortunately, Noel has been underutilized with the Mavericks. According to an insider, the Mavs coaching staff doesn’t think Noel is working hard enough to earn consistent playing time. Yet, the Mavs’ rebounding and shot-blocking deficiency warrant a change in the starting lineup. Sefko thinks it’s the best time to let Noel prove his worth on the floor.

Of course, option No. 3 is to continue building through the draft. The Mavs were lucky enough to snag dynamic point guard Dennis Smith Jr. at No. 9 in this year’s draft. Next year, the Mavs will have a really great opportunity to address their frontcourt with talented bigs like Marvin Bagley III, DeAndre Ayton, and Michael Porter Jr. leading the next group of NBA draft hopefuls. For Sefko, option No. 3 is always the most viable path for the Mavs in finding their franchise center. Dallas already has two future cornerstones in place (Dennis Smith and Harrison Barnes), and drafting a big is the next logical step in their rebuild.

Gasol feeling the blues in Memphis

Another frontcourt player that has gained tremendous traction in the trade chatter as of late is Memphis Grizzlies All-Star Marc Gasol.

Many NBA scribes are already questioning the Big Spaniard’s long-term future in Memphis following David Fizdale’s sudden exit. At 32, Gasol is still a productive big man (18.9 ppg on 42 percent FG shooting and 9.0 RPG). His much improved three-point shooting (32 percent from the three-point line) allows him to thrive in the modern NBA.

There no doubt Gasol is an asset for the Grizzlies. Unfortunately, the Spaniard is starting to feel the blues in Memphis with the Griz having one of the worst stretches in franchise history (11 straight losses). In fact, Gasol is already ripping the team’s effort on the defensive end. “Guys might double or triple team you, but defensively you have no excuse to not give the effort that builds that trust that we all talked about.

That, to me, is inexcusable,” Gasol told USA Today after a 95-79 loss to the San Antonio Spurs last week.

Will his latest comment back up claims of a potential Gasol trade this season? Probably not this year, but expect the Grizzlies to explore trade options involving their franchise big in the offseason when teams tend to double down on making deals.