Following a disappointing postseason exit after earning the best regular-season record in the NBA this past year, the Phoenix Suns will have important business to take care of this offseason. The most important matter for the Suns to address will be the drama surrounding 23-year-old center Deandre Ayton, who is set to become a restricted free agent.
Once free agency hits, Phoenix will have the ability to match any offer sheet that Ayton receives from other teams. However, due to head coach Monty Williams’ frustrations with the big man and ownership’s disbelief in Ayton being worth a max contract, all indications are pointing toward a breakup.
According to NBA insider Marc Stein (subscription required), the Phoenix Suns are “increasingly expected to engage in serious sign-and-trade talks” regarding Deandre Ayton. With Ayton becoming more and more likely to depart Phoenix, let’s dive into five potential suitors that could acquire the 2018 No. 1 overall pick during free agency this offseason.
NBA Trades: 5 Deandre Ayton suitors for Phoenix Suns: 1. Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors have reportedly been in the market to upgrade at center for a few years now, and the expectation is that they’ll continue their pursuit this summer. While the Raptors should have plenty of options to target, Deandre Ayton would make a lot of sense.
After winning the 2019 NBA championship, Toronto has its eyes set on chasing another title and still has a promising core headlined by Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and 2021 Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes. Ayton would immediately enhance the Raptors’ chances at contending for years to come.
In any sign-and-trade deal, Toronto could offer a package around OG Anunoby and a future first-round pick, which the Suns could be interested in. Of course, both Deandre Ayton and Phoenix would have to agree to any potential deal. Ayton would likely value the new opportunity with an integral role on a competitive Raptors team that has intriguing potential.