The February 8 NBA trade deadline is quickly approaching. In that time teams looking to contend are looking for players that will get them over the hump and hopefully fuel a run through the playoffs, or a fringe playoff team looking for a star who will breath life into their ball-club.

Already we have seen this taken place. The trades sending Nikola Mirotic to the New Orleans Pelicans and Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons are augering towards more trades in the coming days.

Naturally, good players on bad teams will be extensively looked at leading up to Friday.

One such player is the Dallas Mavericks 3-and-D maestro Wesley Matthews. While his max contract does serve as an albatross, a player like Matthews remains very enticing to teams short on defenders like the Cleveland Cavaliers. Additionally, Matthew is shooting his three pointers at a respectable 37.6% clip on 6.2 3PA. As such, any team outside of Oakland could make use of the Marquette product in the era of the deep ball.

By all accounts, if the Mavericks could trade Matthews for some draft picks, they would be enthused doing so. The Texas native is 31, and is not in sync with the Mavericks future-centric time frame, and as such his defense and shooting would likely be best served on a team competing right now.

However, its not the statistics that define the value of Matthews to the Mavs. Instead, it is his leadership.

As the Dirk Nowitski era enters its closing chapters, the Dallas Mavericks future is going to be defined by three players: Dennis Smith Jr, Harrison Barnes and whoever the team picks in this year’s draft. While head coach Rick Carlisle is the most important piece to these players development, Matthews is the prototype of a leader, and has influence in any NBA locker room. Matthews is equal parts is always hustling, giving maximum effort on defense and looking to make the best possible play for his team.

It is these attributes that are amongst the most teachable in the NBA. The problem, however, lies in getting young players, especially those who have always been stars, to learn. While Carlisle has show that he can really develop some young players like Jae Crowder and more recently Smith, some rookies need a veteran presence to really buy into any coach’s system.

In comes Matthews. Young players see all of the good he does on the court, while also seeing how much he has overcome, being undrafted and making a return from an Achilles’ tendon rupture. They see how beloved Matthews is by his teammates both past and present. If any player would be able to serve as an influence on rookies and other young players, Matthews would have to be it.

As more and more youths get introduced to the Dallas Mavericks locker room, Matthews can serve as a shepherd, and help guide them towards being the best they van be. That is why the Mavericks should not trade Matthews.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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