Deandre Ayton posts love for the Valley as Portland beckons

Sep 28, 2023, 7:45 PM | Updated: 8:10 pm

Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns looks on in the third quarter against the Indiana Pacers at G...

Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns looks on in the third quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on February 10, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

About five years after the Phoenix Suns made Deandre Ayton the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA draft and a little more than 24 hours since he was traded to the Portland Trailblazers, “Dominayton” sent his thanks to Valley sports fans and the Phoenix Suns on social networking sites Instagram and X.

“To the fans, my teammates, coaches and all the Suns staff at the facility, office and arena, thank you. All love for the valley,” according to the Instagram post.

Ayton was traded to the Portland Trailblazers Tuesday as part of a multi-team deal that also resulted in Damian Lillard joining the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Suns also traded recent draft pick Toumani Camara to Portland. In return, the Suns got an Ayton replacement in Jusuf Nurkic along with Nassir Little and Keon Johnson from the Blazers and Grayson Allen from the Bucks.

With the trade, the roster has been completely overhauled a little more than two years from an NBA Finals appearance in 2021. Only Devin Booker remains.

Only four players are still on the squad from the 2023 postseason: Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Josh Okogie, Damion Lee and Ish Wainwright.

Ayton, a native of the Bahamas, moved to San Diego, California in 2014 to play high school basketball. After playing at Balboa School in Escondido, California for two years, he transferred to Hillcrest Prep Academy in Phoenix before playing one year at the University of Arizona under Sean Miller.

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Deandre Ayton posts love for the Valley as Portland beckons