Trade No. 4: Acquire Phoenix center Deandre Ayton
The Suns traded away their picks in 2023, 2025, 2027, and 2029 to acquire Kevin Durant, so they would likely be interested in filling up their coffers. Ayton oozes with potential but has yet to make even an All-Star team.
He’s only 24 years old with five years of NBA experience, however, so he can be valued as a future star if he reaches the potential that made him the 1st overall pick in 2018.
Just because Ayton signed a four-year, $132.9 million deal this year doesn’t mean he wants to be in Phoenix. The Suns matched an offer sheet to keep him and the star center may still want out.
If the Suns can’t make a run this postseason while boasting a roster of Devin Booker, Durant, Chris Paul, and Ayton, he may lose faith in their chances. Leaving would also allow him to be featured as a first or second star rather than being the fourth-biggest name in Phoenix.
Ayton is an intriguing talent who can own the boards and score from the inside at will. Although he’s yet to make an All-Star game, he has the talent to do it, and being the second scoring option for the Blazers while eating up Dame’s missed shots could get him there.
The Suns could ask for a bounty for Ayton, but they may opt for an offer that keeps them in playoff contention. Simons could be the successor to the 37-year-old Paul and be one of the best sixth-man options in the NBA until then.
Nurkic would be a downgrade from Ayton, but with Durant and Booker, the Suns would still contend.
Ayton’s career averages of 16.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 59.7 percent shooting would make the Blazers a lot more dangerous next season.
This trade gives the Suns back two of the draft picks, and potentially a third, that they gave up to acquire Durant. The idea here is that Ayton forces his way out and the Blazers capitalize.
Potential lineup following this trade: Damian Lillard, Shaedon Sharpe, Matisse Thybulle/Cam Reddish, Jerami Grant, Deandre Ayton