In a move that didn’t seem likely as recently as one week ago, the Phoenix Suns now look like they are going to proceed into next season with center Deandre Ayton on the roster. The news first mentioned on social media by John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Phoenix, before being followed up by Chris Haynes of The Athletic a number of days later.
On paper this looks like a perilous situation for the Suns, who between Ayton, Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and the newly added Bradley Beal have four players making serious sums of money for the foreseeable future. The thought process was that trading Ayton for two or three players may have kept the Suns in a similar salary cap situation, but would have provided some welcome depth.
Those plans have been iced for now, and what this does do is allow the Suns to have the only truly “Big 4” in the entire NBA as they search for a first championship.
But is keeping a player who signed an offer sheet with the Indiana Pacers in the past, and who hasn’t always given 100 percent, the right move at a crucial time for the organization? The Suns are on the clock like few other teams in the league, and anything less than a title for the duration of Durant’s time in Arizona will be seen as a failure.
If you take who Ayton is as a player, what he is able to do and his age profile (he will be 25-years-old next month), then he would appear to be an ideal fit for the Suns in this moment. So much so that keeping him on this roster, as the featured big man at a time when the need to have an elite one to succeed is imperative, was the right move for the Suns to make this summer.