Report: Deandre Ayton believed to have 3 likely landing spots outside Suns

Jun 16, 2022, 11:04 AM | Updated: Jun 17, 2022, 4:33 am
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) wins the open tipoff against Dallas Mavericks center Dwight ...

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) wins the open tipoff against Dallas Mavericks center Dwight Powell (7) during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

There’s no fresh news out of Deandre Ayton’s camp regarding his upcoming free agency, but a week away from the NBA Draft, there could be more clarity about what teams might be in the running to pull the center away from the Phoenix Suns.

Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported Thursday that the Portland Trail Blazers do not appear as “legitimate” contenders to land Ayton. Portland is expected to re-sign center Jusuf Nurkic and are targeting the Toronto Raptors’ O.G. Anunoby as a trade target, though there are other potential directions.

Instead, Fischer adds, Ayton’s “most realistic” landing spots outside of a Suns return are believed to be the Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons and Raptors. The Indiana Pacers, who could dangle center Myles Turner in a deal, have also led some NBA whispers because the two bigs share an agency, Fischer said.

All of those teams have been mentioned because they have enough cap space to chase after Ayton, who is a restricted free agent. That would allow the Suns to match an offer.

But a sign-and-trade would present an opportunity for those teams to use their abundance of cap space on other players before swinging a deal for Ayton, allowing them to jump past the salary cap.

Anunoby, Turner, the Pistons’ Jerami Grant and the Hawks’ Clint Capela are among the players whose salaries would most easily come back to Phoenix in an Ayton deal, but adding other teams in a trade or combining salaries of other players would give Phoenix and any trade partners numerous avenues to explore an Ayton sign-and-trade.

That is, of course, assuming the Suns do not attempt to keep their young center to run it back with a core of Chris Paul and Devin Booker in 2022-23.

The 23-year-old Ayton averaged 17.2 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game last year while shooting a career-high 63.4% from the field.

Penguin Air

Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14)...
Kevin Zimmerman

Deandre Ayton still Suns’ priority, says GM: ‘We want to keep it together’

Suns general manager James Jones said nothing has changed on the Deandre Ayton front over the past several weeks, from his seat at least.
1 day ago
General manager, James Jones of the Phoenix Suns before Game One of the Western Conference Second R...
Kellan Olson

GM James Jones clarifies ESPN article on Phoenix Suns’ draft strategy

Suns GM James Jones clarified an ESPN article that painted a detailed picture of the team's unorthodox practices in the NBA Draft.
1 day ago
NBA draft prospects pose for a photo with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, center, before the start of...
Kevin Zimmerman

NBA Draft live blog: Pistons deal for C Jalen Duren in trade-heavy night

Visit for Phoenix Suns coverage as they stand pat without a draft pick or move into the Thursday action.
1 day ago
Tari Eason poses for photos on the red carpet during the 2022 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June ...
Kevin Zimmerman

Paolo Banchero steals the show on 2022 NBA Draft red carpet

May all the green room invitees at the 2022 NBA Draft have as colorful of careers as they do draft-day getups.
1 day ago
Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner (42) shoots during the first half of Game 1 of the WNBA bask...
Nikash Nath

Suns’ Monty Williams: ‘It is time for (Brittney Griner) to come home’

Suns head coach Monty Williams on Thursday urged those to continue to keep pushing for Brittney Griner's safe return home.
2 days ago
Cameron Johnson #23 of the Phoenix Suns in the third quarter at Arena on April 06, 2022 ...
Kellan Olson

Cam Johnson ready for upcoming process, extension talks with Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns forward Cam Johnson discussed the contract extension he is eligible to receive this offseason and how he's approaching it.
2 days ago
Report: Deandre Ayton believed to have 3 likely landing spots outside Suns