Mavericks caught major break by not trading for former No. 1 pick center

Portland Trail Blazers v Utah Jazz
Portland Trail Blazers v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages

On draft night, the Dallas Mavericks made two trades, but they were also in talks to make a third trade that was bigger than the other two.

The first trade was when Dallas sent Davis Bertans and the tenth overall pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for the No. 12 pick, which ended up being Dereck Lively II and a traded player exception.

Dallas used the traded player exception from that trade in a move with the Sacramento Kings that landed them Olivier-Maxence Prosper and Richaun Holmes.

Mavericks caught major break by not trading for former No. 1 pick center

Later that night, they tried to move Holmes to the Phoenix Suns, but the trade fell through. Dallas was reportedly going to send the Phoenix Suns a package including Tim Hardaway Jr., JaVale McGee, and Holmees for former No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton. Phoenix didn't want McGee as part of the trade, so they declined.

Although this trade seemed like the perfect move for Dallas at the time and a massive bargain, it looks like they caught a big break by not making this move.

This season for the Portland Trail Blazers, Ayton is averaging 12.2 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks per game. Although those stats are an upgrade over any big that Dallas has, trading for Ayton could have caused more harm than good.

First off, Dallas would have lost Hardaway Jr. in this trade. Hardaway Jr. has shown massive improvement to start the season and is playing some of the best basketball of his career to start the year. He is deep in the race for Sixth Man of the Year, and he has been the spark off the bench that Dallas needed.

Dallas would also have had Ayton's contract on their books for the next three seasons. Ayton is making over $100 million over the next three years, and his play right now is nowhere near that level.

If Dallas traded for Ayton, they may not have seen Dereck Lively II develop as quickly as he is right now. Although Ayton would undoubtedly be an upgrade over Lively II and would give Dallas a great center duo, Lively II is already a better rim protector than Ayton, and he fits perfectly next to Luka Doncic.

If Dallas traded for Ayton they could have been in a worse position than they are now, and wouldn't have had Hardaway Jr. on the roster to potentially use for trade bait at the deadline. Ayton would not have fit as well as Lively II does, and his decreased level of play combined with his contract could have set Dallas back.

He could have helped in the rebounding department, but Dallas needs another wing defender just as bad as they need a veteran big. It seems that Dallas caught a break here, but only time will tell.

For all the latest on the Dallas Mavericks, Dereck Lively II, and Tim Hardaway Jr. this season, stay tuned.

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