It sure looks like the Phoenix Suns are going to pull off a Deandre Ayton trade this summer. The former No. 1 pick is slated to become a restricted free agent — giving Phoenix some leverage when it comes to a potential sign-and-trade.
According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the long-downtrodden Detroit Pistons are among the teams interested in a potential trade.
Coming off their second consecutive 50-plus loss season, the Pistons need to improve their roster. General manager Troy Weaver certainly plans on doing that this summer. Here, we look at three reasons why a Deandre Ayton trade makes sense for Detroit.
Related: Ideal Deandre Ayton landing spots this summer
Detroit Pistons can acquire Deandre Ayton without giving up No. 5 pick
Detroit is going to want to keep this selection as a way to build up a better young core to go with the likes of Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart. In no way is Weaver and Co. going to move it for a restricted free agent.
Instead, the downtrodden Pistons will keep said selection as a way to find someone to team up with Cunningham in the backcourt. There could be plenty of options with that selection. Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis and a fast riser in Shaedon Sharpe from Kentucky come to mind first.
Related: Detroit Pistons draft picks, mock draft and ideal scenarios
Getting Cade Cunningham another big to work with
The pick-and-roll game was largely missing for Detroit a season ago. It led to some struggles from Cunningham out on the perimeter as a rookie. He shot a surprisingly low 31% from three-point range.
As we’ve seen with Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Ayton in Phoenix over the past two seasons, this could help improve the Pistons’ offese. That is to say, Cunningham finding Ayton driving down the lane. The big man has also proven to be a pretty decent screener. Finding Cunningham more looks has to be the name of the game here. Hence, why a Deandre Ayton trade would help Cunningham.
From a pure roster construction standpoint, having two bigs in Ayton and Stewart wouldn’t be a problem for Detroit as long as it can find Cunningham more open looks. That’s especally true with Saddiq Bey having shot 36% from distance through two NBA seasons.
A Deandre Ayton trade would give Detroit Pistons fans some hope
Detroit thought it was getting something when the team acquired Blake Griffin mid-way through the 2017-18 season. That is to say, a star player to call its own. Griffin bombed out in a big way as age and injuries caught up to him.
- Deandre Ayton stats (2018-22): 16.3 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 63% shooting
Having earned two playoff appearances since the 2008-09 season, the Pistons have lacked that general appeal in Detroit. This came following a stretch in which the Pistons earned eight straight postseason appearances. Remember, this team had one of the most-recognizable rosters during that span.
While Ayton wouldn’t bring the name recognition of a Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups or Rip Hamilton, he’d give the Pistons another potential star to go with Cunningham. That has to be at least some of the though process whe it comes to potentially pulling off a Deandre Ayton trade.
Proposed Deandre Ayton trade to the Detroit Pistons
- Detroit Pistons get: Deandre Ayton
- Phoenix Suns get: Jerami Grant, Kelly Olynyk, two future 2nd-round picks
The presence of Bey makes Grant expendable in the grand scheme of things. That’s why where’s been a lot of talk about Detroit moving him dating back to the February 10 NBA trade deadline.
Acquiring Ayton for Grant, a veteran in Olynyk and two second-round picks would be seen as an absolute coup for Troy Weaver and Co. A core four of Cunningham, Ayton, Bey and Stewart to go with the fifth pick is a nice start.
As for the Suns, they get a three-and-D wing in Grant who can average 20 points per night. He seems to be a better fit in head coach Monty Williams’ scheme than last season’s iteration of Ayton.