PHOENIX SUNS

Suns present Deandre Ayton with tribute video in center’s return with Trail Blazers

Nov 21, 2023, 7:36 PM | Updated: 7:37 pm

Deandre Ayton...

Deandre Ayton (Arizona Sports Photo/Jeremy Schnell)

(Arizona Sports Photo/Jeremy Schnell)

The Phoenix Suns paid tribute to Deandre Ayton’s time with the franchise by showing a short video before his first game in the Valley as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.

The Suns displayed shots of the 2018 NBA Draft in which they took Ayton first overall and the Valley-Oop game-winner from the 2020-21 Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The crowd response was mixed, not too loud on either side, and Ayton acknowledged the fans after signing autographs during warmups.

Phoenix traded Ayton over the offseason to Portland after he played five seasons in the Valley.

The Trail Blazers faced the Suns in the preseason twice, but Ayton did not play in the latter matchup at Footprint Center.

“Definitely some remarkable moments I appreciate, to take with me,” Ayton said during the preseason. “Learning how to win and taking that with me as well. Knowing how hard it is to get a tradition going and to get guys going on the same level. So that’s the type of things I’m definitely taking with me to share to some of these younger guys, how hard it is in this league every day.”

Ayton was packaged with rookie Toumani Camara to Portland, while Phoenix received Keon Johnson, Nassir Little and Jusuf Nurkic from the Blazers. Grayson Allen also came over from the Milwaukee Bucks, who shipped off Jrue Holiday for former Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.

Ayton started the first 13 games of the year for Portland, entering Tuesday night with an average of 12.2 points and 11 rebounds.

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