Grade the Trade idea: Mavericks finally add a star center

Phoenix Suns v Boston Celtics
Phoenix Suns v Boston Celtics / Adam Glanzman/GettyImages
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Dallas trades for Deandre Ayton

The proposed trade Marc Stein originally reported (subscription required) included Tim Hardaway Jr., Richaun Holmes, and Javale McGee for Deandre Ayton. However, the Suns did not want to absorb McGee's contract and declined the Mavs' offer. Instead, we will focus on a deal that sends Richaun Holmes and Tim Hardaway Jr. to Phoenix for Deandre Ayton as the Mavs settle for a package that doesn't include McGee.

Mavs trade for Ayton

The Mavs would add Luka Doncic's 2018 draftmate, Deandre Ayton. While the Suns would add a serviceable center in Holmes, and a much-needed floor-spacer in Hardaway Jr.

With this trade, the Suns would rid themselves of Ayton's contract, which will end after the 2025-26 season. Furthermore, the Suns would open up an additional $5 million in cap space, as Hardaway Jr. and Holmes' contracts add up to $29 million compared to Ayton's $34 million.

The Mavs would finally get a star center in this trade. Dallas has been after a starting-caliber center since Tyson Chandler left for the Knicks in 2011. After attempting to sign Deandre Jordan in 2015, the Mavs signed him four years later in 2019. Jordan was not the same player as he was four years prior and was traded halfway through the season, subsequently to the Knicks.

Since the Jordan trade, the Mavs have cycled through several mediocre centers. Dwight Powell, Willie Cauley-Stein, JaVale McGee, and Christian Wood, to name a few. Kristaps Porzingis even played some minutes at Center, even though his preferred position was power forward during his brief tenure with the Mavs.

Next, we'll take a look at grades for both Dallas and Phoenix if they were to make the trade.