Can the Mavericks steal Deandre Ayton from cap-strapped Suns?

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Mavericks watched the rival Suns make headlines on Father’s Day when Phoenix pulled in one the of biggest fish on this year’s trade market.

For years, Bradley Beal has been kinda-on/kinda-off the market. Teams have been salivating over the idea of adding the Washington sharp-shooter, and for years Washington has spurned all offers.

Spurning no more, Washington negotiated a trade to send Beal and his enormous contract extension (signed just a year ago) to the Suns for something between jack and squat. With Beal in Phoenix, the Suns now have four max contracts and sit far above the NBA’s luxury tax threshold.

With the NBA luxury tax tightening up in coming years, Phoenix will be hard-pressed to keep all four, making Deandre Ayton the odd-man out and officially “on the block.”

The Mavericks could stubble into a bargain since the Suns are almost forced to to unload Deandre Ayton this summer.

The Suns obviously don’t want to dump a salary if they don’t have to. Part of the problem with having three max deals on the books is the inability to fill out a roster. Four max deals makes it impossible. So they want useful pieces back.

The problem is Ayton isn’t a heavily sought-after player. Despite averaging 16 and 10, the former No. 1 overall pick has been disappointing as a pro. His ceiling remains elite and his value is still high, but many don’t believe he’s worth the max deal he’s on the books for over the next three seasons ($100 million). Teams aren’t lining up to trade useful pieces right now, even if Ayton is a pretty darn good player.

The Mavericks could offer a pair of draft picks (which would become affordable role players for the Suns) and a combination like JaVale McGee and Tim Hardaway (and one more to make money work).

Dallas won’t trade Josh Green or Jaden Hardy but other options should be on the table. It’s also important to point out, McGee played well for Phoenix only two seasons ago, so they could see him as a more useful player than most other teams.

Can the Mavericks make a trade for Ayton?

Sure, but many options will need to be exhausted before the Suns even look Dallas’ way. Dallas is looking for a steal and doesn’t want to give up too much to add a high-risk player like Ayton (Kyrie Irving notwithstanding).

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The Mavericks aren’t scared of Ayton but they can’t afford to strip their roster to trade for him either. They’re trying to dump salaries themselves, after all. The longer Ayton stays in Phoenix this summer the better because it will mean the market is cold and the Mavs could potentially get in the hunt.

  • Published on 06/19/2023 at 16:01 PM
  • Last updated at 06/19/2023 at 16:01 PM