It has been well documented amongst NBA circles that former 1st overall pick Deandre Ayton and the Phoenix Suns' relationship has been rocky for the past few years. Starting in 2021, when the Suns failed to extend Ayton, who was coming off a season where he averaged 14.4 points and 10.5 rebounds per game at 22 years old.
After the 2021-22 season, Ayton had still not received the contract he was looking for. He entered restricted free agency in the 2022 offseason. The Pacers offered him a 4 year, $133 million offer sheet, which at that time, was the largest offer sheet in NBA history. The Suns matched the offer as soon as the Pacers made it, retaining Ayton's services.
Flash forward to a week, June 22nd, 2023. The Suns landed another star, Bradley Beal, in a trade with the Washington Wizards. The Suns sent Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, and multiple picks to the Wizards in the trade.
Grade the Trade idea: Mavericks finally add a star center
After the Beal deal, the Suns have been left with very little depth. They have eight players under contract and three restricted free agents. However, the Suns are $80 million over the salary cap. They have no wiggle room to sign any quality free agents. Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Ayton, and Beal add up to just over $160 million. For reference, the NBA salary cap is set at $136 million, with the hard cap at $165 million.
The Dallas Mavericks have been longing for a center for quite some time now. And have even been linked to Ayton earlier in the season. With the Mavs looking for a star center and the Suns looking for additional depth, we'll grade a rumored trade between the Mavs and Suns.
The trade will be graded for both sides and will be discussed as why or why not the Mavericks should make this move.