Posted on: June 16, 2023, 08:13h.
Last updated on: June 16, 2023, 11:19h.
The Phoenix Suns are looking into different trade scenarios for center Deandre Ayton. The Dallas Mavericks and the Chicago Bulls are the top betting favorites to acquire Ayton if the Suns decide to trade him.
The Suns recently met with point guard Chris Paul to discuss his future. Paul wants to remain with the team. But it looks like the Suns will waive the veteran in a cost-cutting measure if they’re unable to find a trade partner. Paul has been linked to the Los Angeles Lakers if he clears waivers and becomes a free agent.
The Suns also floated a possible Ayton trade last week, but didn’t get any positive feedback.
“The hard part for Phoenix right now is DeAndre Ayton’s market is lean,” said ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski during a stint on the Ryen Russillo Podcast. “They have to be prepared that they’re going to have Deandre Ayton back.”
The Suns finished the regular season with a 45-37 record and secured the #4 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. They emerged as a popular betting favorite to win the 2022-23 NBA championship after they acquired All-Star Kevin Durant in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets. The Suns failed to live up to the hype when were knocked out of the playoffs by the top-seeded Denver Nuggets in the conference semifinals.
The Suns are currently +850 odds to win the 2023-24 NBA championship as the fourth-highest team on DraftKings’ futures board.
Suns Moving On from #1 Pick
The Suns selected Ayton with the #1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. He played two years of high school ball in Phoenix before he joined the Arizona Wildcats for a one-and-done season. He was thrilled to remain in Arizona and return to Phoenix after the Suns drafted him.
Ayton and ex-head coach Monty Williams clashed multiple times over the last two seasons. Williams benched Ayton in the final game of the 2022 playoffs during an embarrassing blowout against the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Ayton was the subject of trade rumors since last summer after his falling-out with Williams. The Indiana Pacers were initially interested in acquiring Ayton in free agency, and they signed an offer sheet worth $133 million for four seasons. The Suns matched the offer and retained Ayton with a new contract.
Ayton averaged 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game in his fifth season. He shot 58.8% from the floor, but struggled in the playoffs, where he averaged 13.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game in 10 appearances.
Ayton missed this year’s elimination game against the Nuggets. He sustained a rib injury and sat out of Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals.
The Suns were demolished by the Nuggets and failed to advance past the second round for a second postseason in a row. Owner Mat Ishbia fired Williams less than 48 hours after the team’s demoralizing loss in Game 6.
Ayton Trade Odds: Mavs and Bulls Need a Center
BetOnline posted a prop bet for Ayton’s next team if he doesn’t remain with the Suns. The Mavs are the outright favorite to secure Ayton in trade at +300 odds.
The Mavs were a hot mess in the last quarter of the regular season after the addition of guard Kyrie Irving failed to produce a playoff berth. They advanced to the 2022 Western Conference finals, yet missed the playoffs and even failed to qualify for the Play-In Tournament with a 38-44 record.
The Mavs have multiple needs, including a center, and it’s still unknown if they’ll sign Irving this off-season or if he’ll leave in free agency.
The Chicago Bulls are the second betting favorite at +400 odds to add Ayton in a trade. The Bulls were mentioned in recent trade rumors involving a swap for Ayton and forward DeMar DeRozan.
The Bulls had a fractured locker room this past season with DeRozan and Zach LaVine feuding over each other’s role in the offense. Head coach Billy Donovan and DeRozan also clashed at different times, mostly because of DeRozan’s beef with LaVine. The Bulls could break up their two alphas, but would still need a center, because last season’s starter, Nikola Vucevic, is a free agent.
Hawks, Hornets, Magic, Pacers Also in Contention
The Atlanta Hawks are +500 odds to land Ayton in a trade with the Suns. Big man John Collins has been unhappy with his diminishing role in the Hawks’ offense over the last two seasons. The Hawks explored options after Collins requested a trade, but they never unloaded him. The Suns could add Collins or center Clint Capela, plus another sweetener, in a trade for Ayton.
The Charlotte Hornets are +600 odds as the fourth-highest favorite to add Ayton in a trade. The unfortunate Hornets were decimated with injuries last season and were ranked #14 out of 15 teams in the Eastern Conference.
The Bleacher Report suggested that the Hornets would cobble together a trade package for Ayton that includes forward Gordon Hayward, center Mark Williams, and a pair of first-round draft picks (in 2023 and 2026).
The Orlando Magic has a young roster with several talented players, including 2023 Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero and guards Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs. The Magic are also in the market for a center, which is why they’re also +600 odds to acquire Ayton.
The Indiana Pacers bubbled the play-in tournament with a 35-47 record. They liked Ayton enough last summer to offer him a lucrative contract, and they’re among the possible trade candidates at +900 odds.
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