Suns: What Ayton’s re-signing means for potential Durant trade

Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker
Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

The Phoenix Suns wasted no time in matching the Indiana Pacers’ offer sheet to big man Deandre Ayton, committing to the 23-year-old on a four-year, $133 million contract.

Ayton’s re-signing is a major boost for the franchise, allowing them to keep their current core together for another tilt at an NBA title.

Ayton will now set about rebuilding relationships with those in the franchise, with some reportedly soured following a disappointing conclusion to their playoff campaign.

But what does his re-signing mean for the Suns capacity to land Brooklyn Nets’ superstar Kevin Durant? The two-time Finals MVP requested a trade at the beginning of the month, with the Suns identified as one of his preferred destinations. 

Deandre Ayton’s re-signing poses a roadblock if the Suns wish to pursue a Kevin Durant trade.

Per league rules, Ayton’s new contract means he can’t be traded until January 15th. That leaves Phoenix with one less trade asset in the short-term, a major hindrance given many believe Durant could procure one of, if not the biggest trade packages in NBA history.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, it appears that re-signing Ayton wasn’t the Suns’ primary option.

"“This is definitely going to close some avenues that they could use in a Durant deal. They preferred to use Ayton in a deal for Durant, but the Nets just didn’t show any interest in going down that route”."

It’s also important to note that Ayton holds veto power over any trade for the next year. That means that even if the Suns and Nets agreed to a deal mid-season (after Jan 15th), Ayton would still need to agree to going to Brooklyn (or a different third team).

The same parameters apply for Suns’ superstar Devin Booker, who recently signed a four-year, $224 million supermax extension. Subsequently, he can’t be traded in the near future either, not that Phoenix would consider such a prospect.

It leaves the Suns with a dwindling list of assets in which to entice Brooklyn into a trade. Any deal would now revolve around starting small forward Mikal Bridges, along with sixth man Cameron Johnson.

Although Bridges is a high-quality, still developing two-way player, the Nets would realistically hope for a higher calibre player as the centerpiece of a trade.

You can’t rule out a potential Durant move to The Valley, but with Ayton’s re-signing, the chances have taken a substantial plummet that may prove fatal.