1. Deandre Ayton
Big man Deandre Ayton represents the best of both worlds here, which is why he has been mentioned in trade discussions for the last number of years. He ticks all the boxes when you look at realistic trade candidates for the organization.
He is making nearly $100 million over the next three seasons, but a big contract like that means he can be moved for a similarly big deal. Unlike Watanabe, where the Suns would have to be cute with who they moved him for, if things aren’t working out, some bigger names can enter the discussion in an Ayton deal.
He is also the team’s fourth best player, and so moving on from him is not as dramatic as saying goodbye to Durant. There would be an issue in that a lot will be expected of him on the defensive end next season, and there will be nobody else to carry that load if he departs. Unless they get a player of similar stature back and then really, what’s the point in moving him?
Ayton can also be coupled with some of the minimum players here to make a real splash, and at only 25-years-old, there are plenty of deals that could be made. Returning to Harden and he is making the situation with the Philadelphia 76ers difficult, how long until Joel Embiid decides he’s had enough of that place? He is the reigning MVP, and is no closer to winning a championship.
Not that the Suns could then get Embiid (although why not dream big?), but the potential for three team discussions then opens up. Ayton is the most logical path have to getting better and shaking things up significantly, while also keeping their superstar players. Ishbia has been aggressive in how he’s tried to build a winner, so don’t be surprised if these players get put in trade rumors.