Deandre Ayton is a player that was key in the Phoenix Suns' run to the Finals during the 2021 playoffs, and there's no question he was a crucial part of their success during the regular season.
However, despite his talent, Deandre Ayton has been linked with a potential move away from the Phoenix Suns. It was reported that Deandre Ayton is "okay with going somewhere else" if he gets more touches offensively.
"I was skeptical until I started talking to a few more people recently. Now, I think it’s more likely than not that he’s in a new destination next season, especially if the Suns can work out a sign-and-trade that brings back some value. For whatever reason, I don’t think Phoenix is totally comfortable going forward with him on a big-money deal, and I think Ayton might be okay with going somewhere else if he can have a bigger offensive role."
One of those destinations could potentially be the Charlotte Hornets, as they've been linked with him in the past. They would have to acquire him via sign-and-trade, and he would definitely have a bigger offensive role there as the No. 2 option behind LaMelo Ball. Here is what a potential trade would look like.
Charlotte Hornets Receive: Deandre Ayton
Phoenix Suns Receive: Miles Bridges, PJ Washington
Charlotte Hornets Acquire An Elite Center That Fits Well With LaMelo Ball
Deandre Ayton's numbers during the regular season reflected his limited offensive role on the Phoenix Suns. He averaged 17.2 PPG, 10.2 RPG, and 1.4 APG on 63.4% from the field. He only had 12.0 FGA per game, and it's clear that he wasn't a primary focus of the Phoenix Suns' offense.
On the Charlotte Hornets, that would likely change. Their two biggest issues during the season were their not having a dominant big man as well as their porous defense. Acquiring Deandre Ayton would potentially help the Hornets fix both of those problems. He is a fantastic rebounder and rim protector, and with more touches, he could be a perennial All-Star caliber big man in the future.
While giving up Miles Bridges and PJ Washington would be a blow to the Charlotte Hornets' wing rotation, they would still have Kelly Oubre Jr. and Gordon Hayward on the roster. It would be a lot to give up, but getting a top-tier big man would be worth it for the team, especially because he fits well with franchise star LaMelo Ball.
Previously, LaMelo Ball has stated that the Hornets are a big man away from being a force in the Eastern Conference, and Deandre Ayton would give the Hornets that big man that he is talking about. LaMelo Ball would get Deandre Ayton a lot of easy looks at the rim, and they would make the Hornets a must-watch basketball team.
The Phoenix Suns Get Two Fantastic Young Players
If Deandre Ayton does in fact want to leave and get a bigger offensive role, then it would be wise for the Phoenix Suns to try and work out a sign-and-trade and get some players in return.
Miles Bridges has had a breakout season with the Charlotte Hornets, averaging 20.2 PPG, 7.0 RPG, and 3.8 APG for the team. He is a great two-way forward, and adding him to the Phoenix Suns would give them another shot creator behind Devin Booker and Chris Paul. In particular, Miles Bridges would relieve some of the self-creation burden on Chris Paul, who seemed to wear out when the Suns went deeper into the playoffs this year. Miles Bridges and Mikal Bridges would also make an elite defensive tandem at the SF and PF positions.
PJ Washington is a sharpshooting forward that could potentially be a fantastic role player off the bench. He is a player that is capable of guarding multiple positions, and could potentially be a small-ball option at the center position.
This trade would leave the Phoenix Suns without a quality big man, but that could potentially be addressed via another trade. The talent that the Phoenix Suns would get would definitely make this trade worth it, especially as it is a sign-and-trade.