As the Dallas Mavericks look to revamp their roster this summer, they’ll have to test the waters on several players who could be available via trade. Among those they’ll likely call about is Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, according to an NBA executive.
But don’t expect the Suns to part with him for Mavs star Kyrie Irving, the unnamed executive told Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney.
“I saw a sign-and-trade with Kyrie was talked about,” the executive said. “Can you imagine going to Kevin Durant and saying, ‘Hey, we got you out of Brooklyn but we’re bringing in Kyrie!’ I think you can say KD is not crazy about the idea of Kyrie on his team again. I can’t see that at all.”
Durant, whom the Suns acquired in February, and Irving were teammates on the Brooklyn Nets for two and a half unsuccessful seasons before both forced their way off the team.
The source named several Mavericks role players who could be used to pry Ayton, the No. 1 pick of the Suns in 2018, from the desert. He signed a four-year, $132.9 million extension in 2022.
“They could get something done with the Mavs, but they’d be looking at role players, like Josh Green and Tim Hardaway, maybe Reggie Bullock, too,” the executive said. “Is that enough for Ayton, though? The guy was the No. 1 pick. But you can fill two or three roster holes, sign a big man, and give yourself a better group as a whole.”
Ayton could fill the Mavericks’ large void left in the paint, where head coach Jason Kidd was forced to use a carousel of centers this season. In 67 games, Ayton averaged a career-high 18 points but also averaged a career-low 10 rebounds. He also averaged 1.7 assists and converted on 58.9% of his attempts from the floor.
NBA GM Says Suns Will Look to Trade Deandre Ayton, Maybe Just Not to the Mavs
The Mavs and Suns are now on the same couch after Phoenix was eliminated by the Denver Nuggets 125-100 in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals on May 11. Acquiring Durant wasn’t enough to propel Phoenix past the second round this year, marking their second-straight semifinals exit, following last year’s elimination at the hands of Dallas.
Ayton did not suit up for Phoenix’s final game because of bruised ribs. Now, his long-term future in with the team has been uncertain for some time, with Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer calling the situation “curious” back in February.
In addition, an anonymous NBA general manager told Heavy Sports that “it’s almost certain” that the Suns will look to trade Ayton.
“It’s almost certain they will look into trading him. I think they feel like they can do all right with a mishmash of decent centers and changing their focus on getting better talent around those two star guys,” one NBA GM told Heavy Sports. “That’s been true for the past couple of years, really. Deandre has butted heads with Monty [Williams]. But he can be a great player, still, it just needs to be somewhere else.”
Mavericks Eager to Add Defense & Rebounding This Summer
Though the chances of Ayton winding up in Dallas seem to be slim, he does fit at least half of the bill in terms of what GM Nico Harrison is looking for.
Harrison told reporters last month that he’s hoping for the Mavs to bring in some defense and rebounding to solidify their core around Luka Doncic and hopefully Irving, who is a free agent this year.
“I think for us going into the offseason, the two biggest things that we need to work on is defense and rebounding,” Harrison said via the Dallas Mavericks official YouTube channel. “That’s going to be addressed.”
Ayton’s 10 rebounds per game this season certainly check that box, but his effort defensively isn’t always there.