Former NBA Exec Reveals Latest On Deandre Ayton’s Suns Future

Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

After a year where they were head and shoulders above the competition in the NBA regular season, things did not play out for the Phoenix Suns the way they had hoped.

While they were picked to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals, their season came to an abrupt end following an ugly Game 7 loss on their home floor to Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.

Heading into the offseason, the Suns will be exploring all angles to try and make it back to the game’s biggest stage. Their main decision this summer will be what to do with Deandre Ayton. Phoenix declined to offer him an extension during the regular season, and now the former number one pick is set to hit free agency.

From the beginning, it seemed the Suns were going to be reluctant to offer Ayton a large contract. This season, the 23-year-old averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds while shooting a career-high 63.4% from the field.

LATEST NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Spurs, Trail Blazers ‘Strong Fits’ To Trade For Phoenix Suns’ Deandre Ayton

Recently, John Hollinger of The Athletic gave his insights on the situation. He feels that Ayton has most likely played his last game in a Phoenix Suns uniform.

“I think it’s more likely than not that he’s in a new destination next season, especially if the Suns can work out a sign-and-trade that brings back some value. For whatever reason, I don’t think Phoenix is totally comfortable going forward with him on a big-money deal, and I think Ayton might be okay with going somewhere else if he can have a bigger offensive role.”

In today’s game, paying centers has become a tricky game for front offices. Unless you’re a transcendent big man like Joel Embiid or Nikola Jokic, it is hard to warrant handing out a max contract. Especially with a point guard like Chris Paul running the show, who can get the most out of anyone put on the floor with him.

LATEST NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Spurs, Trail Blazers ‘Strong Fits’ To Trade For Phoenix Suns’ Deandre Ayton

Deandre Ayton is a fine option to hold down the frontcourt, but he is not in the tier with Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic. Given that and the Phoenix Suns’ hesitancy to offer him a deal, it’s fair to assume they may explore sign-and-trade options this summer.