Pacers, Raptors Among ‘Looming’ Deandre Ayton Suitors

Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns, Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

Arguably the best NBA free-agent remaining to sign with a team is restricted free agent Deandre Ayton. It looks as if he is as good as gone from the Phoenix Suns, who don’t believe that he is worth the max contract that he is seeking.

If Ayton’s market is lacking, the Suns could always double back and re-sign him to a deal that they are comfortable with. However, it does sound like there is max money, or near that much, out there somewhere for him to sign for.

Ayton has been linked recently to the Brooklyn Nets as part of a sign-and-trade deal for Kevin Durant. Durant recently requested a trade from the organization and the Suns were one of the teams, along with the Miami Heat, that is his preferred landing spot.

However, there have been some reports that the Nets aren’t too interested in acquiring Ayton. If that is the case, things could be expanded into a bigger trade as there are numerous other teams still interested in the No. 1 overall pick from the 2018 NBA Draft.

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According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report during a recent appearance on Calling Shots with Seth Partnow, the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors are still looming as landing spots for Ayton. Both destinations do make sense as well.

Indiana has been selling since the trade deadline, but acquiring Ayton would give them a long-term building block to be the foundation of their franchise along with Tyrese Haliburton. Swapping Myles Turner in the deal could be something that works for both sides.

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The Raptors are in desperate need of adding some size to their roster. Nick Nurse did a great job game-planning with what he had last season as Toronto deployed lineups with long, athletic switchable players. While they found some success, they ran into trouble in the postseason against the Philadelphia 76ers as they couldn’t compete with their size on the interior.

Lacking cap space, both the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors would have to work out a sign-and-trade for Deandre Ayton. That would be the Phoenix Suns preferred route as well so that they could recoup at least some value and not lose Ayton for nothing.