Where is Deandre Ayton going to play next season? The former No. 1 overall pick is hitting restricted free agency and while the Suns have the ability to match any offer he receives, it’s possible that the team will work out a sign-and-trade with a rival suitor.
The Blazers, Pistons, and Hawks are seen as the teams with the most traction toward a deal, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. The Spurs and Hornets are also mentioned as teams to keep an eye on.
Ayton’s Best Fit?
All five of the aforementioned teams offer something similar for Ayton: the chance to be the second member of a 1-2 punch.
Atlanta is looking for a second star to pair with Trae Young. The Hornets want a running mate who can protect the rim next to LaMelo Ball. The Blazers are eyeing pieces that could help Damian Lillard win now. The Spurs developed a gem in Dejounte Murray but he can’t re-elevate the franchise alone. The Pistons would want Ayton to be all of the above alongside Cade Cunningham.
Ayton’s best fit is arguably Atlanta, however. The Hawks are one year removed from an Eastern Conference Finals appearance and of the bunch, they are the closest to rising to true contender status again. The Suns may be looking for a cheaper center replacement in return for facilitating an Ayton sign-and-trade and Clint Capela, who is making $19.7 million next season, matches the criteria (not to mention that Chris Paul and Capela previously played alongside one another in Houston). It’s easy to envision the Hawks, Ayton, and the Suns all coming together and seeing this as a fruitful scenario for all.
More NBA Rumors
- Bradley Beal remains likely to re-sign with Washington this summer, though there were rumblings earlier in the season that the Knicks were pursuing the All-Star guard. We examined what it would take for New York to trade for Beal should the two sides work out a sign-and-trade.
- The Lakers may be entertaining the idea of trading for Doc Rivers despite reports of the franchise narrowing down its shortlist to three candidates.