After months of rumors, sending him to the Portland Trail Blazers for a 2025 first-round pick through the Milwaukee Bucks and other draft considerations. One of the other benefits of the deal was that it opened up even more cap space, so the Pistons now have $43 million to work with this summer.
As one of the few teams with significant funds to spend this off-season, they will not only have flexibility but also a potential advantage over rival clubs. To that end, the Pistons are expected to pursue big man DeAndre Ayton as a free agent. according to James Edwards III.
Selected 1 overall in the 2018 draft, Ayton has been instrumental in the Suns’ success over the past few seasons, including reaching the NBA Finals and leading the league. On paper, it would appear that he would re-sign with the Suns in an attempt to make the most of Chris Paul’s last few seasons. And that could still happen given that Ayton is a restricted free agent and the Suns will have the option to accept any offer.
At the same time, there have been some signs that the sides may split this summer. They couldn’t agree on an extension, and Ayton, who wants a maximum deal,According to Adrian Wojnarowski’s report. In addition, Ayton played just 17 minutes in the Sun’s shock loss to the Dallas Mavericks at the end of the season in Game 7 of their second-round series, with head coach Monty Williams hinting at “internal” reasons for leaving the bench.
If the Suns let Ayton go, he’ll have no shortage of suitors. While it’s fair to wonder if Ayton is really worth the top deal, it’s clear he’ll get one this summer. Whatever happens towards the end of the Suns playoffs, Ayton is still a 23-year-old 7-footer, a walking double-double and an effective basket-finisher.
Players with Ayton’s size and skill set are rare, and it’s no wonder the Pistons are interested. Cade Cunningham is looking like a real player as a leading ball carrier and playmaker, and his teaming with Ayton will give the Pistons a solid inside and outside base to rebuild them.
Again, the Suns have the ability to match any offer the Pistons (or anyone) makes, but it’s certainly an option that Detroit should explore.