The Phoenix Suns have been here before, and let me be frank, “here” is not by any means where they want to be.
After a near-perfect regular season, the Suns once again fell short of their ultimate goal, and in hand, now find themselves immediately tasked with navigating around the Deandre Ayton contract situation.
Just like last summer, they rode into the postseason this year hotter than—well—the Sun. But they went on to blow a 2-0 series lead and are now faced with that task of deciding Ayton’s future with the team after putting it off beforehand in their stalled extension talks a few months ago.
It’s almost like they hopped into a DeLorean, hit 88 miles per hour, sat down at a dinner table, and pointed at last year’s version of themselves and said, “Hey, I’ve seen this one before.” This is a double-dosage of déjà vu, and not the kind that goes down easily.
With all this recycled commotion, fans and analysts alike have pumped some gas into their trade machines to try and figure out how the Suns can emerge from this Ayton-focused offseason as winners. But even after a shocking postseason for Phoenix, the results have been surprising to say the least.
Phoenix Suns Trade Deandre Ayton to the Brooklyn Nets
This deal resembles a true blockbuster transaction. With so many moving parts, it requires the most work to complete and the lowest probability of coming into fruition. However, it does involve Kevin Durant, so try to remain calm.
- Suns Receive: Kevin Durant
- Nets Receive: Deandre Ayton, Cameron Johnson, Torrey Craig, Landry Shamet, 2-3 First Round Picks
Although exciting to think about, this one feels a bit too far-fetched to reasonably consider and something more likely to play out on NBA2K than in the real world. This whoIe trade is based on the idea that Durant wants to leave Brooklyn just a few months after he signed a max-deal in Brooklyn. The amount of assumptions needed to even get to that point are quite remarkable.
In this trade proposed on the Locked on Suns Podcast, the groundwork for this notion that Durant wants to leave comes from an article published this week about the Nets not wanting to offer Kyrie Irving a long-term deal, making Durant want to leave, and the Suns then putting together an intriguing package for the Nets.
That’s already three dominoes that need to fall for this trade to happen. Beyond that, the idea that Phoenix has enough leverage in the Ayton situation to spin it all into a trade that lands them the Slim Reaper feels like wishful thinking.
This deal makes no sense for the Nets, as they could get far more for Durant from teams in more stable situations than Phoenix. After all, KD was widely seen as the league’s best player before his early postseason exit this summer. This deal is fun to think about, and props to the LoS guys for going for it, but don’t waste your time thinking about it as a serious option.
Phoenix Suns Trade Deandre Ayton to the Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic acquired the 2022 NBA Draft’s first overall pick no more than a few days ago. But through this trade, they could add another first overall guy by way of Ayton.
- Suns Receive: Cole Anthony, Wendell Carter Jr.
- Magic Receive: Deandre Ayton
The propose trade from the Bill Simmons Podcast certainly keeps the Suns on the younger side by adding another youthful and athletic center who can start and possibly Chris Paul’s predecessor in Anthony. Even if Paul operates as an ageless wonder yet again next season, Anthony already resembles an ideal backup guard with elite scoring talents which the team needs after a disappointing season from Cameron Payne.
With both those players under contract until 2026, this deal further solidifies the team’s future, saves them some money, and keeps them contending. It resembles possibly one of the better deals for Ayton out there from all angles.
At the same time, the Magic already carry a wide variety of young assets especially at the guard spot which they can do without. The idea of a young and promising big man coming to Orlando for a max-deal rather than leaving for one could also be huge for this franchise which has yet to see stardom since Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal departed many years ago.
Phoenix Suns Trade Deandre Ayton to the Boston Celtics
When you start with Bill Simmons, it’s only a matter of time before your conversation gets steered into the direction of the Boston Celtics. Bleacher Report did this in regard to the Ayton situation and proposed a far bolder deal.
- Suns Receive: Robert Williams, Derrick White, Aaron Nesmith
- Celtics Receive: Deandre Ayton
If the Celtics fall short this year, most will likely call on the fact that they lacked that “third star” as the reason why. They already possess two incredible talents in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and several versatile role players—but a Thor to their Iron Man and Captain America remains absent.
Being a young and talented big with playoff experience, Ayton would certainly be worthy of that title, no pun intended. He also can switch onto just about any player, making him a seamless fit in Boston’s flex defense. Derrick White and Aaron Nesmith come over as solid contributors for Phoenix, and although Williams’ injury history raises an eyebrow, he keeps the Suns competitive at center.
Phoenix Suns Trade Deandre Ayton to the New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans surprisingly emerged as buyers during the 2022 NBA trade deadline. The Suns witnessed first hand how that decision payed off exponentially, as the Pels gave them a good run for their money in the first round to announce themselves as a dark horse team to watch next year.
With that, their front office might aim to capture lighting in a bottle for a second time during this year’s offseason. Clutch Points recently proposed this deal which lands them Ayton to keep the good mojo flowing.
- Suns Receive: Jonas Valanciunas, Larry Nance Jr., Garrett Temple, 2022 First Round Pick (8th Overall from LAL)
- Pelicans Receive: Deandre Ayton
Garrett Temple comes over as a solid locker room guy, but even with valuable pieces like Valanciunas and Nance Jr. possibly making their way to the desert, it’s the eight overall pick that must feel most exciting for Suns fans to think about.
With Valanciunas taking up the center spot, Phoenix would only downgrade their starting five to a slight degree, upgrade their bench especially with Nance Jr., and then add another potential young star via the draft. Names like A.J. Griffin and Johnny Davis resemble mid-lottery selections which already feel fun to imagine wearing Phoenix threads, running beside Devin Booker and company.
However, this trade does feel a bit too good to be true. New Orleans should not need to give up that pick for Ayton, especially with Valanciunas coming off a solid postseason performance and Ayton riding the bench to close out his.
A deal like this would resemble a massive haul for the Suns, but don’t be surprised to see a shrunken version of it come Phoenix’s way this summer if these two teams decide to pick up the phone.