The Dallas Mavericks had a huge draft night as they drafted Dereck Lively II and Olivier-Maxence Prosper to add youth and defense to their core.
They also shed Davis Bertans' contract when they traded back from pick No. 10 to No. 12 and grabbed Richaun Holmes when they traded back into the first round using the TPE.
But what if I told you that the Mavericks almost made another trade on draft night that is much bigger than the first two?
According to NBA Insider Marc Stein, the Mavericks and Suns almost made a trade during draft night that would have sent JaVale McGee, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Richaun Holmes to the Suns in exchange for Deandre Ayton.
These talks were "advanced" according to Stein, "but the Suns balked at McGee’s inclusion," (subscription required). McGee is set to make almost $12 million over the next two seasons, assuming that he opts into his player option after next year, and is not a good contract. The Suns didn't want to absorb McGee's contract, so they said no.
It seems like the Mavs could have gotten this trade done if they pulled McGee from this trade, but that doesn't look like something the Mavericks want to do, as he was unplayable at times last year. They undoubtedly regret giving him that big contract last summer, and they seem to be looking to dump it this summer.
The Mavericks could then try to sign Dwight Powell to a veteran's minimum contract and roll with a center rotation of Ayton, Lively, and Powell. But to do this, the Mavs would have to find a way to get off McGee's contract. If the Mavs trade for Ayton and can't dump McGee, Powell is almost certainly not returning, as they don't need four bigs.
Chris Haynes reported that the Suns are planning to keep Ayton, but it seems they'll deal him if the deal is right. Possibly the Mavericks could get a third team involved in the trade to absorb McGee's contract, or they can fold and make the deal of Holmes and Hardaway Jr. for Ayton.
"Sources with knowledge of the Phoenix/Dallas trade discussions said a resumption of the Ayton talks could not be ruled out."- Marc Stein
The Ayton to Dallas trade rumors are far from over as they fail to rule out these talks starting up again. Ayton's future in Phoenix isn't guaranteed, and these talks could resume again quickly.
Stay tuned to see if the Mavericks and Suns engage in trade talks again and if Ayton will be the new starting center for the Dallas Mavericks next season. Ayton would be the best big that the Mavs have had in a long time and would be someone for Lively II to learn from.