The Pheonix Suns have made it pretty clear that the 170+ million needed to keep 22 year old Deandre Ayton with them is too steep an asking price. In these playoffs he has averaged 17.9 points on 64% field goal and 8.9 rebound in 30 minutes.
Its now being reported that Ayton doesn’t get on too well with head coach Monty Williams due to Aytons focus.
However, have we ever seen a number 1 pick who puts up his numbers on good efficiency not get a max contract? Haven’t a lot worse players been given the max before? *Tobias Harris enters the chat*
How does this affect the Suns as a potential destination for stars in free agency, when they don’t max their home grown stars?
Either way, it seems very likely he is leaving, so here are 5 destinations that would be perfect for Ayton’s career:
1. Detroit Pistons
Big men need playmaker guards to really flourish. Detroit has exciting young star in Cade Cunningham who has shown glimpses of greatness in his playmaking and passing abilities. If Ayton ended up on the Piston’s roster, this one two punch could become a problem for a lot of defences.
The Detroit Pistons currently have the number 5 pick in the 2022 draft which could aquire another guard or wing to fill out this roster making a Ayton, Cade, Grant, Hayes, Garza young core.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
Presti has a bunch of picks. Some would say too many picks. They hold the 2nd, 12th, 30th and 34th in this year’s draft which could become the assets needed in a Ayton trade.
Thunder have a good young core and lots of opportunity to draft quality talent with their boatload of picks. Shai, Giddey, Dort, the 2nd pick, Poku and Ayton could grow into a future contending team.
3. Indiana Pacers
The Suns have already looked at a deal to trade Ayton for a package that involved Sabonis, according to sources. This might not be such a bad thing for Ayton, depending on what the Pacers want to do with Miles Turner. Can these two big men coexists? Seems unlikely, but the Pacers need to gain some valuable players back for whatever they get from their current centers.
4. Atlanta Hawkes
Clint Capela sign and trade could land Ayton on the Hawkes next to All Star Tre Young. We know how gifted a passer Tre is and how good he can make centers look with his lob threats.
Capela has had difficult stretches in the playoffs against quality centers, so Ayton would be a much needed upgrade in the post season – however will be a much higher cost. Something they have to think about if they are paying Tre, Collins and Ayton.
Atlanta have been rumoured to try a pursue Zach Lavine, a trade they’d prefer over Ayton so its possible that they hold out too long on that. Only time will tell.
The Mavericks are absolutely desperate for some interior defence. Luka has never played with a serviceable big and any big with Ayton’s skills would likely feast in the paint due to Luka’s ability to slice up a defence and dime.
The problem with the Mavericks is they don’t have much cap room or many assets they could use in a sign and trade – especially none that the Suns would be chomping at the bit to get. Still, a team with Luka and Ayton could be the difference between Western Conference finals and the finals.
Do we think Ayton is worth the max? And even if he isn’t, should the Suns have paid him anyway?