Hawks, Pistons Fading In Deandre Ayton Sweepstakes?

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

Perhaps the top attainable talent in NBA free agency is Deandre Ayton despite being set to hit the restricted market. He’s seemingly in the midst of a falling out with the Phoenix Suns despite being a productive player after going No. 1 overall in the 2018 NBA Draft.

For a stretch leading into the 2022 NBA Draft, it seemed as though the most common speculated potential landing spot for Ayton was the Detroit Pistons. It made sense considering they have max cap space and were in need of a center before making the aggressive move to gain the necessary positioning to select Jalen Duren in the draft.

As reported by The Athletic, after selecting Jaden Ivey and Duren, the Pistons are reportedly ‘eager’ to focus on building toward playoff contention through the development of their young core.

However, while all signs have pointed to Detroit making a serious run at Phoenix’s Deandre Ayton over the last few days, that appears less likely after the Pistons walked away with two of the players highest on the organization’s big board. Per sources, Detroit is eager to continue to build back toward playoff contention with the aforementioned young core, and the Pistons are expected to use the majority of their remaining cap space to add multiple veteran pieces rather than just one big swing this offseason, per sources.

Losing one of the few potential suitors who possesses max cap space would be a major blow to Ayton’s pursuit of a max contract. Other interested suitors may not be willing to make aggressive moves to clear the necessary salary cap space to be capable of offering him a max deal.

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There already is an instance of such an outcome. As also reported by The Athletic, the Atlanta Hawks have long been among the rumored teams with interest in pursuing Ayton, but apparently just not for the price of a max contract.

Sources tell The Athletic that the Hawks’ interest in the 23-year-old would be contingent on lading him for less than a max contract,

With the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks seemingly fading in the Deandre Ayton sweepstakes after previously being among the most realistic landing spots before the NBA Draft, the Toronto Raptors remain a team to watch.

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Other logical teams include the San Antonio Spurs and Indiana Pacers depending on the direction their front office seeks to go. Myles Turner and Jakob Poeltl could be appealing trade targets in a sign-and-trade with the Pacers or Spurs with other possible pieces being included.

About Grant Afseth 1057 Articles
Grant Afseth is a contributor to NBA Analysis Network who specializes in creating in-depth analysis. He also covers the Texas NBA teams for FanNation.