The Phoenix Suns might be planning a significant transaction as the NBA trade deadline of February 9 approaches.
According to Jake Fischer, the Toronto Raptors are reportedly interested in Deandre Ayton, among other centers.
The Raptors registered interest in Rudy Gobert this summer, according to sources speaking to Yahoo Sports, but there was never a realistic approach from Toronto, Fischer wrote. “They have certainly sniffed around the big man market in previous seasons. Toronto engaged Dallas about trading Kristaps Porzingis for Goran Dragic, and the first-round selection was ultimately given to San Antonio for Thaddeus Young.
According to insiders, Myles Turner and Deandre Ayton were two additional centers on Toronto’s radar.
This is not the first time Ayton has allegedly been planning to leave the Valley. Ayton, 24, became a restricted free agency last year after he and the Suns could not agree on a contract extension in 2021. Before Phoenix matched that offer, he inked a 4-year, $133 million deal with the Indiana Pacers.
Ayton has not lived up to the potential of being selected as the No. 1 pick; therefore, the Suns have cause to part ways with him. However, Ayton is still young and has a ton of potential, so the Suns would be wise to take advantage of that if Phoenix decides to move on.
The Suns still have one of the NBA’s most complete teams (when healthy), and even though they are No. 12 in the Western Conference with a record of 21-24, they can still contend for a championship if they can make it through the regular season and into the postseason. However, the Suns will need to take severe action if anything is to change in the end.
The Raptors would make the best trading partner if an Ayton swap were to occur. Like Suns, Toronto is loaded with potential but has underachieved this year, with a 20–25 record, making them a strong contender to be dealt with before the trade deadline.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Suns plan to pursue Fred VanVeet during the upcoming offseason’s free agency period. VanVleet, who is still only 28 years old, is the Suns’ top point guard by far in terms of scoring average with 18.7 points per game.
Despite VanVleet’s tremendous offensive skills, Phoenix will undoubtedly require younger players with more significant potential in exchange for Ayton. That is precisely what OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam are.
Although Anunoby and Siakam have been playing terrific basketball this season, they might be available if the Raptors are committed to shaking up the organization.
Fischer, though, claimed in the same report that it would be extremely difficult for Toronto to part with Anunoby.
According to sources, it would take at least comparable to Atlanta’s offseason price for Dejounte Murray—multiple unprotected first-round picks—for Toronto. Even to consider moving with OG Anunoby, a player who is well-known to be a favorite of Ujiri, according to Fischer.
Phoenix can be in good shape in the short and long terms by trading Ayton for either Anunoby or Siakam because both players are productive and under 30.
The Suns may have no choice but to trade Ayton if they want to pair another top player with Devin Booker.