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Dallas Mavericks eyeing two big-name players on NBA trade block

The Dallas Mavericks are coming off a sorely disappointing 2022-23 season in which they lost 44 games.

There are questions about their future, including star guard Kyrie Irving slated to hit free agency after he was acquired in a mid-season trade from the Brooklyn Nets.

Meanwhile, Dallas must do everything possible to appease star guard Luka Doncic before he grows frustrated over the regression we’ve seen from the organization. Remember, Dallas earned a trip to the Western Conference Finals last season before missing out on the playoffs altogether in 2022-23.

With that as a backdrop, Tim Cato of The Athletic reported recently that Dallas is eyeing two big-name players on the NBA trade block for the summer. According to Cato, Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton and Milwaukee Bucks star forward Khris Middleton “have been floated as possibilities.”

It remains to be seen if the interest is mutual. It’s also an open question whether the Dallas Mavericks have the necessary assets to pull off a move of this magnitude.

Technically, the 31-year-old Middleton can hit free agency this summer. He has a player option of just over $40 million for the 2023-24 campaign. Having played just 33 games this past season while putting up his worst statistical performance since 2016-17, it’s safe to assume Middleton will opt into his contract.

As for Ayton, Phoenix matched the Indiana Pacers’ four-year, $132.9 million offer sheet to the star center last summer. Though, it’s being noted that the Suns’ new ownership group headed by Mat Ishbia might not value Ayton too much.

Phoenix currently finds itself in a 2-0 series hole against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals. Another premature playoff exit might force general manager James Jones to make some moves in order to create more depth behind Devin Booker and Kevin Durant.

Related: Sportsnaut’s updated 2023 NBA mock draft

Dallas Mavericks trade assets are a problem

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Dallas Mavericks
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That’s the biggest hurdle for general manager Nico Harrison and Co. It’s safe to assume Milwaukee will look to unload Middleton should the wing pick up his option for next season. The Bucks are coming off an historic meltdown against the No. 8 seed Miami Heat in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Changes are in order behind Giannis Antetokounmpo.

We also fully expect Phoenix to listen to offers for Ayton regardless of how the remainder of the 2023 NBA Playoffs play out. It’s all about what the Dallas Mavericks have in terms of trade assets.

Dallas sent its first-round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft to the New York Knicks in the ill-fated Kristaps Porzingis trade eons ago. Said pick is top-10 protected, which led the Mavs tanking at the end of the regular season and receiving a hefty fine from the NBA.

Right now, Dallas is expected to keep that pick depending on how the NBA Draft lottery plays out later this month. In what is an absolutely loaded draft class, said pick could very well be valuable. The Mavs also have an ability to trade two future first-round picks from 2025-2028, creating the possibility of a blockbuster trade.

At issue here is a lack of young talent on the Mavericks’ roster. Guards Josh Green (22 years old) and Jaden Hardy (20 years old) are their two-best assets. This means that any move to acquire either Middleton or Ayton would likely have to include a third team being involved.

From there, the Mavs could entice teams with depth options such as Tim Hardaway Jr., Davis Bertans and Maxi Kleber to make the salaries work.

Either way, it’s time for the Dallas Mavericks to get busy. In addition to Kyrie Irving’s future, finding a better supporting cast behind Doncic must be in the cards.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Mavericks, check out #MFFL rumors, rankings, and news here.

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