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NBA insider suggests Detroit Pistons and Portland Trail Blazers are top contenders for Deandre Ayton

Jason Burgos
detroit pistons, portland trailblazers, deandre ayton
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

One NBA insider believes the Detroit Pistons and Portland Trail Blazers may have the best chance of landing coveted free-agent center Deandre Ayton.

Phoenix Suns star Ayton is one of the biggest talents that will be available to the highest bidder this summer. Considering that he was the team’s top pick in the 2018 NBA Draft — first overall — and has been a key pillar of two straight winning seasons for the Suns, his staying in Phoenix would seem like a no-brainer.

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However, the 23-year-old big man is expected to demand to be paid the max contract he is eligible for, which is a 5-year deal worth $177 million. Unfortunately for him, the Suns are balking at the idea of handing out such a deal or matching an offer for a player that hasn’t been an All-Star yet after four seasons.

Detroit Pistons and Portland Trail Blazers are 2 of 5 teams with cap space to give Deandre Ayton a max deal

detroit pistons, portland trailblazers, deandre ayton
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

On a Wednesday edition of “Dunc’d On Basketball NBA Podcast,” Bleacher Report NBA writer Jake Fischer reported that Ayton is unwavering in his desire to get a max contract this summer. If the Suns are unwilling to pay him then that only leaves a few teams with the cap space to actually fit in a max deal.

Fischer claims that two of them are mentioned often in regards to Ayton’s free agency. And one of them includes a superstar player that has an interest in playing with Deandre Ayton next season.

“[Ayton] wants to max, he doesn’t want to come down from that. So that’s the case, if one team offers him the max, which I think seems pretty possible … Detroit gets mentioned a lot. Like Portland, it seems like he’s another guy that [Damian Lillard] has interest in playing with. Toronto gets mentioned, San Antonio has been mentioned.”

Jake Fischer on deandre Ayton landing spots

The Detroit Pistons, Portland Trail Blazers, and San Antonio Spurs are three of the five teams with the highest projected cap space heading into next season and it’s why their names have been mentioned in conversations about Ayton.

All three also have picks in the top-10 of the 2022 NBA Draft and are in the midst of rebuilds after disappointing seasons in 2021-2022.