In a recent NBA rumor, Deandre Ayton was mentioned as a possible sign-and-trade with the Pacers. The Suns’ center is a restricted free agent and one of the most talented players in the league. Brian Windhorst of ESPN reports that Ayton could be offered a sign-and-trade or an offer letter. Windhorst stated, “we could see something with Ayton and the Pacers as early as Monday.” Check out the best new sportsbooks for betting on the NBA.
Suns G.M. James Jones was expected to trade Ayton for Kevin Durant. Trade plans were thwarted by the CBA rules and the Nets’ salary limit. A sign-and-trade for Ayton would activate the Nets’ hard limit, in case you didn’t know. A sign-and-trade for Ayton would have triggered the Nets’ hard cap. Plus, if the center had accepted a qualifying offer, he would not be eligible for a trade before December 15. The Pacers trading Ayton to them is, therefore, the best play.
Ayton isn’t Rudy Gobert nor Nikola Jokic, but he’s still one of the top centers in the league. Ayton averaged 17.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per contest during the 2021-22 NBA season. Ayton ranked 10th in rebound per game, 4th in field goal percentage (63%), 7th in actual shooting percentage (65%), and 17th overall in player efficiency rating (21.9).
He averaged 36.8% shooting from the 3-point line. He was the Suns’ first pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. He was named to the NBA All-Rookies First Team in his rookie season, 2018-19. Later this month, he turns 24.
Multiple sources suggest that a sign-and-trade agreement would best serve Deandre Ayton. According to NBA analysts, Pacers G.M. Chad Buchanan will trade Myles Turner to the Suns in exchange for Ayton. Herb Simon, the Pacers owner, is well-known for refusing to make offer sheets to restricted free agents.
Turner’s trade to the Suns would mean that Ayton’s offensive and rebounding ability will be lost. Ayton is also more efficient and younger in the paint. Turner averaged 12.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and one assist in 42 games last season.
The Pacers were 13th in the Eastern Conference last season with a record of 25-57 (.305). Although Malcolm Brogdon’s departure will affect their backcourt, Deandre Ayton is a much better rebounder than Myles Turner and a better rim protector.
Rick Carlisle, Aaron Nesmith and Juwan Morgan could help turn this ship around with the help of Rick Carlisle, Malik Fitts and Nik Stauskas. Although Daniel Theis was able to score fewer points with the Celtics in less time, he might be more at home around Goga Bitadze or Ayton.
Notably, the Pacers still own Chris Duarte and selected Bennedict Mathurin sixth overall in last month’s draft. Mathurin, who was playing at Arizona his sophomore season, averaged 17.7 points and 5.6 rebounds, as well as two assists per game. He was the Pac-12 Player of Year.
On February 8, Buddy Hield and Tyrese Hailburton were traded to the Kings by Tristan Thompson, Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton. The Pacers received Justin Holiday, Jeremy Lamb and Domantas Sabonis, and a 2023 second-round draft pick.
Holiday is currently with the Hawks, while Thompson was last seen for the Bulls.
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