Deandre Ayton may be out of town.
According ESPN Brian Windhorst, the Pacers are “very close” to executing a signing and trade with the Suns for Ayton, 23, who was the No. 1 overall pick in 2018.
The Pacers finalized a trade with the Celtics over the weekend, in which they shipped guard Malcolm Brogdon – and the remaining $22.6 million (A$33.5 million) on his contract – to Boston .
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“Now it’s about to happen and it opens up enough space to give Deandre Ayton the max contract he’s looking for,” Windhorst said Monday on ESPN’s “Get Up.”
“We could see something with the Pacers and Ayton today. The whole league is waiting to see if that’s the next domino to fall.
Ayton averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds last season, which was his fourth in the NBA. He started 58 games at center for the Suns, who finished with the league’s best regular season record at 64-18.
Ayton, however, seemed to fall out of favor in Phoenix during the playoffs, especially in the Suns’ unceremonious loss to the Mavericks. Ayton did not play in the second half, being benched by Suns coach Monty Williams for “internal reasons”.
Ayton and Williams appeared to be engaging in a verbal spat on the sideline and had to be separated from each other.
The grudges between the parties could date back to October, when Ayton and the Suns were unable to reach an agreement on a full maximum contract, as Ayton wanted after helping anchor Phoenix’s run to the NBA Finals in 2021.
As a result, Ayton is now a restricted free agent with a $31.5m (A$46.7m) cap, allowing him to sign an offer sheet elsewhere – although the Suns ultimately retain the corresponding rights. .
Ayton is expected to earn a base salary of $16.4m (A$24.3m) in the 2022-23 season, on top of that hit cap.
– New York Post
LUKA’S INTERESTING COMMENTS TURN HEADS
Elsewhere, Luka Doncic sat down with MARK for an exclusive interview and gave some answers that may have turned heads in Dallas.
Similar to Giannis Antetokounmpo, Doncic reiterated that his goal was to “stay” with the Mavericks and win a championship.
But as Antetokounmpo did a few years ago in an interview with Swedish media, Doncic nuanced that by adding that nothing is guaranteed in the future.
“I don’t intend to change my goal to stay and win in Dallas. Of course, in the future, nothing is known, but my idea and I hope to succeed in winning in Dallas, “said he declared.
The other interesting comment from Doncic centered on the exit of Jalen Brunson and the arrival of JaVale McGee.
Brunson, along with Spencer Dinwiddie, had played a crucial role last season in easing Doncic’s attacking burden.
Without Brunson, Doncic was asked what steps the Dallas front office needed to take to help him further his pursuit of a championship.
“Well, the market is just getting started and I expect the Dallas bosses to have more options to sign. Let’s see what they do,” he said.
The free agency period is nearly over, so the Mavericks don’t have much wiggle room in that prospect, even if Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving could be in the market.
Dallas is unlikely to have the big comeback Brooklyn will be looking for if they hope to stay in winning mode now.
KYRIE MARKET ‘FROZEN’ AS NETS FACE IMPALE DURANT
Speaking of the Nets, Irving’s market is “frozen” according to an NBA insider and will only heat up once Brooklyn strikes a deal for Durant.
This could well lead, depending on ESPN Brian Windhorst, who also said on “Get Up” that there is a “pretty gigantic chasm” between what the Nets want for Durant and what rival teams are willing to give up.
“Again, this requires some nuance and I know it will potentially be taken out of that context,” Windhorst added.
“Kevin Durant is obviously a very valuable player. No one doubts that this guy is still in his early years as an MVP-level contender, who can completely turn a team from contender to contender with his presence.
“However, the market doesn’t want to pay a super high price for him, because if you trade all those best assets in your team to get him, he becomes less valuable to you.”
Windhorst said there’s been a “stalemate” as a result, which isn’t ideal for Brooklyn considering he added the Nets “have made it look like they want to do a trade with Kevin Durant. before moving on to Kyrie.”
The Lakers are still considered the only known team with an interest in Irving.
As for the Durant, the Heat are one of his favorite landing spots and it looks like Miami is using the Summer League to talk to the Nets’ power brokers about a possible move.
Veteran Miami Herald Reporter Barry Jackson tweeted that Heat general manager Andy Elisburg and Nets general manager Sean Marks were seen talking Tuesday morning in Las Vegas, where the Summer League is taking place.
“Heat continues its pursuit of Kevin Durant,” he added.
While some skeptics were quick to point out that all of the teams’ general managers would share a quick chat with each other, Jackson said that was different.
“Heat’s Elisburg and Nets’ Marks go beyond casual conversation – they have dinner together,” he added.
“My Nevada food industry sources haven’t said the subject, but the Heat’s serious pursuit of Durant is well known in the NBA.”
MITCHELL BECOMES AVAILABLE IN TRADE TALKS ‘AT SOME POINT’
Another big name to watch in trade talks this offseason is Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell.
The Jazz were expected to make major moves this summer after another disappointing playoff exit, with the first seeing Rudy Gobert sent to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The trade left Mitchell as Utah’s only true star player and only raised further doubts about his future at Utah, which could send him elsewhere to participate in a full-scale rebuild.
According to Windhorst, rival executives believe Mitchell will be available at some point in the offseason.
“Justin Zanik, the general manager of the Utah Jazz, spoke over the weekend and said that while they still want to build around Donovan Mitchell, he’s not untouchable,” Windhorst said on “GetUp”.
“That’s what the league bosses think. He’s not currently on the market, but at some point they think he will be.
Speaking to reporters last week, Zannik told reporters there was “no intention” to trade Mitchell, but added the 25-year-old was not “untouchable”.
“I’m not trying to be cryptic or anything, but Donovan is on our list, and he’s a very, very important part of what we’re trying to do,” Zanik said.
“Things are changing in the NBA. So I couldn’t sit here and say someone is (untouchable). We are trying to build a championship team, but there is no intention (to trade it) at all.