The Dallas Mavericks might be looking to pair Luka Doncic with a real co-star. During an appearance on Zach Lowe’s The Lowe Post podcast, Tim MacMahon of ESPN revealed that Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton is a name he’s heard connected to to the Mavericks.
“Well, Deandre Ayton is certainly interesting, and he can veto any trade this year because he signed that extension,” MacMahon said. “I don’t know that there’s a very long list of places that he would veto. I think that it’s reasonable to assume, based on the way things played out this summer, some of the comments he made, that he might not see Phoenix as his long-term home. And certainly, he wanted to go to [the] Indiana [Pacers]. So, whether that happens now or not, I don’t know. It is interesting. He’s a name that I’ve heard around the Mavericks. And again, I think that would have to be a later than right now type of situation.”
Ayton was in the same draft class as Doncic. The Suns selected him with the first-overall pick, just two spots ahead of Doncic, who the Mavericks traded up to pick with the third-overall pick.
MacMahon went on to explain that adding Ayton to the roster could give Doncic a true star to play with, as the big man could anchor Dallas’ defense and also provide some new offensive looks at the center spot.
“And again, I think it gets down to this, going back to the Mavericks of hey, they need to get a co-star who might be available, and do we like him as a fit with Luka? You can argue about paying a center that much in today’s NBA who’s not a primary offensive option. But he can certainly serve as the backbone of a defense, he’s proven that,” MacMahon explained. “He is a skilled center who can, you know, he’s not just a lob finisher. But again, I think that’s more than likely a down-the-road conversation. They are both represented by [agent] Bill Duffy. I think he would certainly be happy to have those guys teamed up together.”
Plus, Phoenix’s front office is going to have to get creative with new ownership in town.
“I think the other thing that’s very interesting in Phoenix is, with new ownership, there is natural pressure on that front office,” said MacMahon. “I’m not going to sit here and tell you that James Jones is GM-ing to save his job, but I think if you look at the trend of what happens when new ownership takes over an NBA franchise, there tends to be turnover in the front office. So, I think there is pressure to try to capitalize, and there’s pressure because of the age of Chris Paul anyway, right? This is your window. There’s pressure to try to capitalize on that.”
Mavericks Linked to Potential Fred VanVleet Trade
In addition to Ayton, the Mavericks are also one of the teams reportedly interested in trading for Toronto Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet, pre Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.
“Either the Raptors and VanVleet will extend their marriage, or the team will look to get value for him in a trade before the deadline. If it’s the latter, several playoff contenders (at least teams that consider themselves playoff contenders) would have interest, such as the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards. So, too, would the Orlando Magic, per multiple NBA sources,” Pincus wrote.
Mavericks Urged to Land Mike Conley
Dallas was also linked to another floor general. Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report urged the Mavericks to pursue Mike Conley of the Utah Jazz.
“Conley would be a stabilizing force at point guard, able to play with or without Doncic given his ball-handling and off-ball shooting skills,” Swartz wrote. “He would bring 73 games of playoff experience, and he ranks eighth in the NBA this season with 7.6 assists per game.”