Grade the trade: How Dallas Mavericks could pull off a deal for Deandre Ayton

Tyler Watts
Dallas Mavericks, Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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The Dallas Mavericks are searching for a co-star for Luka Doncic. Building a title contender around their 23-year-old superstar is a must, and the organization knows the fastest way is finding a complementary second star. The Mavs are making every player available via trade, including key 3-and-D wing Dorian Finney-Smith.

Dallas may not land their second star before the trade deadline. They owe their 2023 first-round pick to the New York Knicks from the original Kristaps Porzingis trade back in 2019, and the top-ten protection that they placed on it prevents the Mavs from trading their 2025 first. They do have two first-rounders to deal and a handful of medium contracts for salary-matching purposes. Is that enough to land a star player? Fans will find out quickly as the Feb. 9 trade deadline approaches.

The Mavericks' search for a co-star could extend into the summer when their assets will increase drastically. Dallas will have four first-round picks available to trade if that pick conveys to New York, and ESPN’s Tim MacMahon mentioned Deandre Ayton as a potential Mavs target on the Lowe Post podcast. Is that deal possible before the deadline?

Could the Dallas Mavericks trade for Deandre Ayton?

The Suns had the best record in the NBA last season before Dallas knocked them out of the playoffs in the second round. Both teams want to get back to the postseason and believe they can make a deep run but are struck in the crowded middle of the Western Conference. Dallas and Phoenix are both buyers at the deadline, but that could change in the offseason.

The Suns have a new owner, and they are going to need to reshape their team. Chris Paul is starting to decline, and Phoenix needs to build around Devin Booker. Ayton is reportedly not happy in Phoenix, and he could demand a trade this summer.

Dallas will be ready with a package when the 6’11 big man does, but what would that deal look like?