On building an Ayton in Portland, trade for Nurkic and a high draft pick

We’re two weeks away from knowing where Phoenix Suns limited free agent Deandre Ayton will play next season. He and his agent David Falk will begin receiving free agent calls on June 30 at around 6:00 pm Eastern time. Ayton is looking for the maximum possible salary next season for the player of his experience, which starts at around $ 30.5 million next year with increases every season thereafter.

The Phoenix Suns will immediately sign him that contract, allow him to leave another team or, more likely, negotiate a swap with the other team to get some players back to replace up to half of Ayton’s new salary.

You all know the how Phoenix Suns’ trading with limited free agent Deandre Ayton this summer is complicated. He has that weird base year compensation rule that basically prohibits the Suns from acquiring the same talent in an Ayton trade, but if they are determined to trade it, the adage “something is better than nothing” holds true.

And the Why that continues to baffle me. Why you should trade your youngest main player whose abilities are completely unique to the Suns and quite unique in the game of basketball: three levels of defense + two levels of attack + third level of budding attack + a very good playoff player at 22 years.

That Why It’s still a question every individual has to answer for themselves, but rumors persist that the Phoenix Suns are interested in seeing what they can get for Ayton this summer on the market.

Commercial offers will be limited, partly by the rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between players and teams and partly because he wants a lot of money.

Still, there are a handful of teams that have the flexibility of the hat and the need for a big young man who would fit both a rebuild timeline (he’s just turned 24) and a contender timeline.

The Portland Trailblazers are one such team that has the flexibility to acquire Deandre Ayton in a sign and trade to join Damian Lillard and now Jeram Grant.

Portland just acquired Grant on Wednesday, the day before the NBA Draft, in exchange for hat space and future draft picks. Grant is absorbed by a commercial exception, allowing the Blazers to deal with him simply for nothing. Now Grant will be under contract with the Blazers for next year, before becoming a free agent next summer.

Could Deandre Ayton join them?

I had an exchange with Dave Deckard, an experienced blogger at BlazersEdge.com, who contacted me to try to find an exchange for the young big man of the Suns.

Dave thinks he has a simple solution for the Suns:

  • Blazers receive a signed and traded Deandre Ayton for $ 30.5 million in 2022-23 and $ 130 million over four years
  • The Suns receive a signed and traded Jusuf Nurkic (expected to get something around $ 15-18 million per year) and the number 7 pick in the draft. Dave even suggested Josh Hart or Nassir Little in the deal.

Okay, well, good try Dave. Sorry it’s not that easy.

The money won’t work unless the Suns send more money back. By trading Ayton alone, the Suns can only receive up to $ 20 million back (that’s a bit higher than other scenarios because Portland has room for the limit).

The price tags of the Blazers:

  • Nurkic: more than 15 million dollars
  • Hart: $ 12.96 million
  • Little – $ 4.1 million
  • Pick 7 in the draft: $ 5.9 million

So the Suns have to give Portland more money back, something like Landry Shamet and / or Torrey Craig.

I can build a commercial package of

  • Blazers bring Ayton, Shamet and Craig to Blazers
  • The Suns get Nurkic, Hart / Little, and whoever the Blazers pick for the Suns at number 7 overall

Speaking of that choice no. 7, let’s pretend the Suns actually explored the draft lottery level. According to rumors, the Suns have at least interviewed, if not resolved, Tari Eason, Jeremy Sochan and AJ Griffin – all big, long wings. Read more about them here:

By choosing at number 7, the Suns would likely have a choice between all three players who are said to have personally coached or at least interviewed.

Here is a screenshot of the tankathon.com lottery draw:

The Suns may have their pick of a very likeable young player to add to their core.

Wouldn’t it be funny if, after yet another backhand slam from Kevin Arnovitz, the Suns showed that it was a smokescreen to “devalue the draft” and take Jones’s top pick?

What do you think, Suns fans?


Would you trade Ayton / Shamet / Craig with Nurkic, choice # 1. 7 and another player?

  • 37%

    Yes, with Hart as the other player

    (196 votes)

  • 12%

    Yes, with Little as the other player

    (65 votes)

  • 2%

    Yes, but skip Nurkic and take Hart and Little as players

    (14 votes)

  • 47%

    No, none of this is good for the Suns!

    (252 votes)

527 total votes

Vote now

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