When NBA free agency initially tipped off on June 30 at 6 PM ET, the feeling was that Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton wouldn’t have to wait long for a new contract to come his way. Here we are, over a week after free agency officially got underway, and Ayton still doesn’t have a contract for the 2022-23 season in place.
So what’s going on with Ayton, and is there any hope for a deal to come soon?
According to John Gambadoro, Ayton and his agency believes a free agent offer for Ayton could come soon. Even more, that offer is likely to be from either the Indiana Pacers or Toronto Raptors. The Pacers actually have the cap space to sign him to an offer sheet outright, but the Raptors would have to make some moves.
Let’s break down why Ayton’s market has yet to develop, while analyzing the fit for both the Pacers and Raptors.
Brooklyn Nets may be reason for Deandre Ayton’s slow market
The entire NBA seems to be patiently waiting for a conclusion to the Brooklyn Nets saga. Whether that means a couple megadeals, like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving being traded remains to be seen. But we could be looking at a much different NBA landscape in the next few months.
If the Nets are looking to blow up their roster, Ayton could find a new landing spot in Brooklyn. Or maybe their deals will spawn other interest elsewhere. Either way, Ayton figures to become a hot commodity, it’s just that teams don’t currently have a way to pay the man what he wants, which is a max contract.
- Deandre Ayton stats: 16.3 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 1 BPG
Once NBA organizations have a better understanding of where Durant and Irving end up, it will become clearer who’s a contender and who’s just a pretender at this stage of the offseason.
As mentioned, both the Pacers and Raptors could get involved with the Ayton discussions, though it’s much easier for Indiana to do so, as they have the cap space to sign him. The Raptors, on the other hand, would have to clear some money off their 2022 cap number to get involved. Although, a sign-and-trade is another possibility, but are the Suns interested in what the Raptors can offer? This is where the Nets could get involved as a third team to help swing the deal.
Basically, not much has changed. We’re all waiting on the Nets.