In Phoenix, the Suns are facing a serious dilemma. After months of failed negotiations, star big man Deandre Ayton will be looking for the max as a restricted free agent his summer.
While much has been made about Ayton's future in Phoenix, he could end up staying with the team if they manage to clear enough money. ESPN draft insider Jonathan Givony dropped the details:
The Phoenix Suns are said to be one of the teams potentially looking at trade scenarios here, possibly including a player like Cameron Johnson in order to free up salary cap flexibility to keep Deandre Ayton.
Of course, Ayton has long been thought to be moving on from the Suns. His role has been reduced, contract talks have not been going well, and his name has surfaced as a potential candidate for a sign-and-trade deal.
With that being a consideration for the team, Marc Stein has now reported that the Suns are expected to seriously engage in sign-and-trade talks with other teams involving Ayton.
The Phoenix Suns are "increasingly expected to engage in serious sign-and-trade talks" regarding star center DeAndre Ayton, according to NBA insider Marc Stein. Stein listed the San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Portland Trail Blazers, Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks as possible candidates to land Ayton. He added more teams could enter the mix if Phoenix signals its ready to move on from the 2018 No. 1 overall pick."
The Suns are still looking for answers after their shocking playoff elimination. To finish with the NBA's best record only to lose in the second round really calls into question their title chances moving forward.
And now, with Ayton's future up in the air, who knows if their best days have already passed. Either way, this summer, they will have to decide just how much they value their talented big man.