What Is Happening With Deandre Ayton?

July 14, 2022
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Will Deandre Ayton be a Phoenix Sun next season?

Deandre Ayton Is Wanted, But Not By The Suns

Earlier today, it was announced that Deandre Ayton and the Indiana Pacers had reached a deal on a four-year, 133 million dollar contract to send the center to Indiana. But, with the way contracts are made for young players, the Phoenix Suns had a chance to match it, and they did. This means Ayton still gets the contract, except for the Suns and not the Pacers. But that isn’t the confusing part. The confusing part is why Phoenix matched the offer.

It was widely understood throughout NBA circles that Ayton and the Suns weren’t working out. The Suns believed they could find the same production elsewhere for cheaper, and Ayton didn’t like that. So, heading into a relatively weak free agency class, it was seen that Ayton would be on the market for teams looking for a good and young center. That isn’t the case anymore… or is it?

Kevin Durant To Phoenix?

Kevin Durant, at this point, will be the greatest player ever to be traded. I know Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was traded, but he always wanted to go to Los Angeles and only Los Angeles. There was never a market or broad understanding that anyone could make a run for him like there is for Kevin Durant. Durant did name a few teams he would be interested in going to, and the Suns were one of them. The only issue is, while still being competitive, how do you give up the assets necessary for Durant?

The main piece was always seen as Deandre Ayton. He has plenty of value, making perfect sense with the organization growing apart. Of course, he won’t be nearly enough to complete the deal. Phoenix would also probably have to pitch about five or six first-round draft picks to the Nets along with Ayton and probably a player like Cam Johnson. But I fully support this move by the Suns as it makes perfect sense. The win now culture is spreading to the NBA, and the Phoenix Suns should bite on this opportunity.

The Los Angeles Rams set a precedent for showing that a win-now team pays off across all the major sports leagues. Kevin Durant is your golden ticket. A guaranteed playoff spot, and if he is surrounded by even half-decent players who work well with him, you could be making a deep playoff run. The Suns have that perfect roster to make that deep run. A veteran superstar point guard in Chris Paul, one of the best young players in the NBA in Devin Booker, and a very deep bench that has chemistry together. Not to mention former coach of the year winner, Monty Williams.

What If It Falls Through?

No NBA trade is ever 100 percent guaranteed. No matter the likelihood, it isn’t a sure thing a player will end up in a specific place. Durant could very well also end up in Miami or even Golden State again. But this does make it awkward around the office for Deandre Ayton and the front office. Their first overall pick in 2018 wanted to leave, and they brought him back. So I feel it is inevitable that he is included in a trade. It might not be for Durant, but now that he is paid, which likely helps swapping for a superstar’s contract, we could see his departure from Phoenix.

This also could all just be fake. We as fans truly know nothing about what happens inside the closed doors of front offices. It would be quite the plot twist to learn that the Suns and Ayton are actually cool, and happy to run it back once again.