Deandre Ayton (22) of the Phoenix Suns wins the open tip against Dwight Powell (7) of the Dallas Mavericks during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Phoenix.
There’s no new information from Deandre Ayton’s camp about his future free agency, but with the NBA Draft just a week away, there could be more clarity about which teams are interested in luring the young center away from the Phoenix Suns.
The most likely teams to land Ayton
According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the Portland Trail Blazers do not look to be “serious” rivals for Ayton’s services. Portland is set to re-sign center Jusuf Nurkic and is pursuing O.G. Anunoby of the Toronto Raptors in a trade, though there are other options.
Ayton’s “most realistic” landing locations outside of a Suns’ return, according to Fischer, are the Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, and Toronto Raptors. Because the two big teams share an agency, the Indiana Pacers, who may dangle center Myles Turner in a trade, have also sparked some NBA rumors, according to Fischer.
All of those teams have been discussed because they have the financial space to pursue Ayton, a restricted free agency. The Suns would then be able to match an offer. However, a sign-and-trade scenario would allow those teams to spend their cap space on other players before making a deal for Ayton, allowing them to go over the salary cap.
Ayton’s Last Season
The 23-year-old Phoenix star averaged 17.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game last year while shooting a career-high 63.4% from the field.