Can the Dallas Mavericks acquire Deandre Ayton this offseason?

Dallas Mavericks, Deandre Ayton
Dallas Mavericks, Deandre Ayton / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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The Dallas Mavericks were arguably this season’s most disappointing team. They were in the conference finals in 2022 only to miss the playoffs entirely this year. Dallas lost Jalen Brunson in free agency and made multiple trades that did not work. In the end, it was poor defense, rebounding, and an epic collapse that forced the Mavs to be on the outside looking in.

Now, Dallas faces a crucial offseason. There is fear in the organization about Luka Doncic requesting a trade if the roster around him does not improve. It starts with Kyrie Irving, who is an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Mavericks must bring him back and find upgrades around him.

The Athletic’s Tim Cato discussed the state of the Mavs (subscription required) in his latest article where he mentioned two possible trade targets this offseason. Suns big man and former number one overall pick Deandre Ayton was one, but can Dallas add him?

Deandre Ayton under contract: Why would he leave the Suns to join Dallas Mavericks?

Ayton was a restricted free agent in the summer of 2022, and things drug out for weeks before he finally signed an offer sheet with the Indiana Pacers. The Suns quickly matched to keep Ayton for four years at $132.9 million, but the 6’11 big man did not seem happy about the way things played out.

For his part, it has not hurt Ayton’s production. He averaged 18.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in 30.4 minutes per game this season. Ayton’s block numbers were down, but the 24-year-old remains a two-way force with untapped potential.

The Dallas Mavericks desperately need a center. Dwight Powell has started the last two years, and it is a clear area to upgrade this summer. They need a rebounder and rim protector at the five. Ayton could get a fresh start in Dallas playing with Luka Doncic, who are both represented by agent Bill Duffy.

Cato noted that Ayton’s interest in Dallas and the Mavericks' ability to actually acquire him were unclear. So what do they have to offer?