A new trade proposal would land the Phoenix Suns a $94 million star and a two-time blocks champion for Deandre Ayton.
In a May 25 column called “Trades Ideas for 2023 NBA Playoffs Biggest Losers,” Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report proposed that the Suns trade Ayton, a 2023 second-round pick, a 2024 second-round pick and a 2025 second-round pick to the Pacers for shooting guard Buddy Hield and center Myles Turner.
“The Suns, who depleted their depth in the Durant deal, would be thrilled to turn Ayton into a pair of plug-and-play starters like Turner and Hield,” Buckley wrote. “The former is an elite shot-blocker who can stretch to the three-point line or finish at the rim on offense. The latter is one of the top outside threats in this league, having just averaged better than three triples per night for the fifth consecutive campaign.
“This deal could give Durant and Booker a bit more breathing room, too, since each of Turner and Hield is a threat to score 20-plus any given night. Plus, having an impact paint protector like Turner would lighten Durant’s defensive load.”
The Suns, who lost to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals in six games, are expected to aggressively explore the trade market for Ayton this offseason, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
Buddy Hield Is an Elite Shooter; Myles Turner Is a Strong Defender
Hield is one of the best shooters in the NBA. He was second in the league this season in 3-point field goals (288) and shot 42.5% from beyond the arc. The 30-year-old Oklahoma product is a career 40.2% shooter from 3-point land, which is good for 39th in NBA history.
For the Pacers this season, Hield averaged 16.8 points. He signed a four-year, $94 million contract with the Sacramento Kings in October 2019 and will make $18.6 million next season, the final year of his deal.
Meanwhile, Turner is an excellent rebounder and defender. He’s led the league in blocks per game twice and can stretch the floor with his improved shooting. Turner put up 18.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 2022-23.
Deandre Ayton Would Be Excited About a Fresh Start With Another Franchise
Ayton would be excited about a fresh start with another team, per MacMahon. The former No. 1 overall pick tried to leave the Suns last offseason by signing a four-year, $132.9 million offer sheet with the Pacers in restricted free agency.
However, Phoenix matched Indiana’s offer sheet.
“Sources told ESPN that Ayton’s teammates have shared their coach’s frustration with what they perceive to be inconsistent effort and aggression from the 7-footer,” MacMahon reported. “Ayton would be excited about a fresh start with another franchise, sources told ESPN. The Suns are expected to aggressively explore the trade market for him this summer, league sources said.”
Ayton, 24, averaged 18.0 points and 10.0 rebounds during the regular season, but his numbers dipped in the postseason to 13.4 points and 9.7 rebounds. The big man will make $32.5 million next season. He turns 25 in July.
Since Ayton signed an offer sheet with the Pacers last offseason, we can assume that he wouldn’t mind getting traded to Indiana.