PHOENIX SUNS

Jazz interested in Deandre Ayton sign-and-trade possibilities

Jul 1, 2022, 1:11 PM | Updated: 1:27 pm

The Utah Jazz have interest in exploring a sign-and-trade to acquire Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, reports Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro.

The Jazz are the first team firmly linked to having interest in acquiring the restricted free agent, who last offseason did not come to an extension agreement to remain with Phoenix beyond this year.

Utah does not have the cap space to sign Ayton to a max deal or something close and thus would only be able to grab him in a sign-and-trade.

The Jazz have the contract of Bojan Bogdanovic that is worth $19.3 million in the final year of the deal. That could be in the range of making a clean two-team swap relatively easy, depending on the size of the deal Ayton ultimately would have to agree to sign.

Utah is in a reset with a new front office leader in Danny Ainge and a new head coach, Will Hardy. The team on Friday reportedly dealt center Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves for four draft picks; one pick swap; players Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt and Leandro Bolmaro; and 2022 draftee Walker Kessler.

The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor added that Phoenix, Utah and Minnesota had talks on a three-way trade before the Jazz moved Gobert.

Ayton, who turns 24 in July, was a key factor in the Suns’ NBA Finals run two years ago and continued producing efficient numbers this past year.

He averaged 17.2 points, 10.2 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per game this regular season, shooting a career-high 64.3% despite expanding his offensive repertoire in short-roll situations and with midrange jumpers. That happened after he put the contract stalemate aside.

The Suns surprised many around the league by not coming to terms on a max contract extension with the 2018 NBA Draft’s first overall pick last summer.

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