Why Dallas Mavericks fans should not get excited about Deandre Ayton

Dallas Mavericks, Deandre Ayton
Dallas Mavericks, Deandre Ayton / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks plan on upgrading their roster this offseason. They made a run to the Western Conference Finals, but the holes in their roster were on full display during the postseason. Dallas needs a second star, depth, rebounding, and rim protection.

The Mavs are limited in how they can acquire it as they are projected to be over the luxury tax line before re-signing soon-to-be free agent Jalen Brunson. Dallas wants Brunson back, but it will cost owner Mark Cuban over $80 when including the tax penalties. The Mavericks will have the taxpayer mid-level exception and minimum contracts to offer in free agency, otherwise, improvements will have to come via trades.

The Athletic’s John Hollinger and James L. Edwards III wrote about Deandre Ayton and his upcoming free agency where they shared the belief (subscription required) around the league that he is likely to be on a new team next season. The 23-year-old big man would be a fantastic fit in Dallas, but MFFLs should not get their hopes up.

Why Dallas Mavericks fans should not get excited about Deandre Ayton

The Mavs want to upgrade their roster and a young talented center appears to be available, but Dallas has virtually no way to acquire him. Pulling off a sign-and-trade hard caps the Mavericks. The numbers are not official, but the hard cap line is expected to be around $155 million. They have $151.5 million committed in salaries before re-signing Jalen Brunson as Luka Doncic and Dorian Finney-Smith both have extensions kicking in this offseason.

The Mavericks could let JB walk in free agency and deal the required pieces to get acquire Ayton on a max deal in a sign-and-trade, but that likely costs Dallas two key rotation pieces besides Brunson. They do not have depth as it stands, so losing three of their seven trusted players to add one is a massive gamble, especially when they do not have cap space to sign replacements.

Deandre Ayton may have played his last game for the Suns, but his next NBA game won’t come in a Mavericks uniform. The front office would love to add a second star, but they need a player that is already under contract, so the Mavericks can bring back Jalen Brunson and exceed the hard cap.

Free agency kicks off on July 1, and Deandre Ayton and Jalen Brunson are just two names to watch. The league’s trade market should be robust this summer as cap space is limited, so fans should be on the lookout for news and rumors, and stay tuned for all the latest on Dallas Mavericks at The Smoking Cuban.

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