The Phoenix Suns have been predicted to “sell low” on a Deandre Ayton trade.
On September 8, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report predicted that the Suns would be forced to sell low on Ayton.
“We aren’t likely to see the best version of Ayton playing alongside Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal, especially without Chris Paul,” Swartz wrote. “Ayton received 30.1 percent of his total passes from Paul last season, with Booker finishing a distant second at 12.6 percent.
“Ayton’s raw stats will suffer, and he’ll eventually be traded for parts, with a rim-protecting center, wing defender and pass-first point guard all ranking at the top of Phoenix’s wish list.”
Ayton averaged 18.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season for the Suns while shooting 58.9% from the floor and 76.0% from the foul line. The Arizona product recorded 36 double-doubles in 67 games.
However, Ayton’s level of play declined in the 2023 playoffs. The center averaged 13.4 points and 9.7 rebounds in 10 games against the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets. Ayton put up 10.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in the Nuggets series and didn’t record a positive plus-minus rating in any contest.
Intel Revealed Why Suns Haven’t Traded Deandre Ayton Yet
The Suns haven’t traded Ayton because “there is no viable trade right now turning Ayton into the kinds of players (or picks) that would maintain or boost the Suns’ title odds,” according to Zach Lowe of ESPN.
The Suns discussed Ayton trades with the Dallas Mavericks and Indiana Pacers but wound up keeping the former No. 1 overall pick and trading Chris Paul to the Washington Wizards for Bradley Beal instead.
“The Suns’ top priority — from Ishbia to Ayton and down to the 15th man — should be doing whatever it takes to repair their relationship with Ayton, to lift him back up,” Lowe wrote on July 31. “The Suns’ likely path toward a good-enough defense is switching a ton across the perimeter while keeping Ayton closer to the paint as the last line.”
‘Realistic’ Proposed Trade Lands Suns 10-Time All-Star & NBA Champion
On August 30, Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report published a story called “Realistic Trade Packages for Every NBA Team’s Worst Contract.” In the column, Buckley proposed that the Suns trade Beal and three future draft picks to the Philadelphia 76ers for James Harden (10-time All-Star) and PJ Tucker (NBA champion).
Harden has requested a trade from the Sixers and doesn’t have a no-trade clause in his contract, so he can’t control where he gets traded to.
“If the Suns wound up shopping Beal, they’d almost certainly be looking for a star,” Buckley wrote. “They’ve already splurged on two (Beal and Durant), and they clearly think stacking them is the key to delivering the franchise’s first NBA title. Phoenix has been identified as a possible Harden suitor before, and you could make the case his playmaking ability would have more impact than Beal’s scoring since both would functionally fill third-option roles behind Durant and Kevin Booker. The Suns could also get Tucker in the deal, both to make the money work and to address some of their depth issues on the wing.”
The Suns acquired Beal from the Wizards on June 23. Beal averaged 23.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists last season in 50 games. He signed a five-year, $251 million contract in July 2022.
A three-time All-Star, Beal will make $46.7 million next season. The Florida product has career averages of 22.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists.