Deandre Ayton’s future in Phoenix has been in question ever since he was unable to come to terms on an extension with the Suns prior to the 2021-22 season. In recent weeks, the reporting around Ayton has made it sound like it would be a surprise if he returned to the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2018, particularly because they apparently do not view him as a max player.
It begs the question: Where, exactly, will Ayton end up? In his latest newsletter, Marc Stein indicated that Ayton has his eyes on joining forces with another No. 1 overall pick, Cade Cunningham, while the Detroit Pistons would like to use the considerable cap space they opened up after trading Jerami Grant on Wednesday night on Ayton and someone else.
The Pistons are widely expected to make the pursuit of Phoenix Suns restricted free agent Deandre Ayton their priority after agreeing Wednesday to trade Jerami Grant to Portland. Word is Ayton, furthermore, would indeed embrace the concept of teaming with Cade Cunningham to form a new Pistons two-man core. Detroit is projected to have salary-cap space in the $50 million range to pursue Ayton and perhaps one other top free agent, with Charlotte’s Miles Bridges and Cleveland’s Collin Sexton thought to be ahead of Dallas’ Jalen Brunson on the Pistons’ wish list.
A 1-2 punch of Cunningham and Ayton would indeed be worth getting excited about, as the former is one of the more impressive rookie floor generals in recent history and the latter is a big man with soft hands and a penchant for converting chances that come out of a two-man game.