3 reasons the Phoenix Suns are right to keep Deandre Ayton.
3. The value for Ayton wasn’t there.
This was never going to be as straightforward as trading Ayton to the highest bidder, because the reality is many of the bids for Ayton would have been underwhelming. What rival franchise out there is going to give up two solid rotational players, and in all likelihood a pick or two, in order to acquire Ayton?
The Suns did just this to net Durant, sending out Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson. The two very players they are sorely lacking right now, and who they tried to go out and find cut-priced versions of through the NBA Draft last week. These players come at a premium, whereas there are few teams out there who need Ayton specifically.
The best teams in the league either have a star center of their own, don’t have or won’t trade the Suns what they’re look to get in return, or else they are rebuilding groups who are in no rush to add a player like Ayton. A team like the Orlando Magic is an ideal partner to do business with in theory.
But when Wendell Carter Jr. was as good as Ayton himself last season, and costs a fraction of his counterpart, why would the Magic want to do a deal like that? Ayton doesn’t push the needle enough for any team to part with a package that it is worth the Suns’ while to go after, and that is why they were smart to hold onto him.
John Collins just got the Atlanta Hawks the thoroughly underwhelming return of Rudy Gay and a second round pick. Ayton’s value is much more than that, but it still validates the point. Ayton is worth more to the Suns than what any other organization could or would give up. So keeping him instead of moving on what they perceive is the best bid currently makes no sense.