Deandre Ayton could be the next domino to fall in the Valley following the blockbuster trade had the Phoenix Suns sending 12-time All-Star Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, and future second-rounders to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Bradley Beal, Jordan Goodwin, and Isaiah Todd. 

Ayton has been a part of the ever-busy rumor mill this NBA offseason, with the Suns center being linked to such teams as the Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks, and Milwaukee Bucks. The Suns are said to be interested in using Ayton as trade bait in order to shore up their thin supporting cast behind the newly formed Big Three of Beal, Kevin Durant, and Devin Booker. Adding more fuel to speculations is the perceived frustration of the Suns over Ayton’s lackluster performance in the 2023 NBA Playoffs in which he got utterly exposed by Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.

But if jettisoning Ayton is actually part of the Suns’ plans this offseason, they will have to work harder on their sales pitch because apparently, teams are not willing to meet Phoenix’s demand in such a trade scenario, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Phoenix. Ayton has been generating interest on the Ayton front, but that’s the closest they’ve gotten so far to a trade.

Ayton has a cap hit of at least $32 million in each of the next three seasons and won’t be a free agent until at least 2026. He has yet to live up to the four-year $132.93 million deal he signed with the Suns in 2022 that prevented him from going to the Indiana Pacers. If the Suns couldn’t pull off a trade to get rid of Ayton, they will have to settle for Plan B, which is  to hope that the former Arizona Wildcats star will start to show marked improvement in the coming 2023-24 season.