As the Deandre Ayton trade rumours continue to percolate, numerous teams have been added to the list of potential suitors. Headlining the possible candidates is a franchise known for pushing the envelope come the offseason: the Toronto Raptors.
According to NBA insider Marc Stein, five squads, including the Raptors, are now teams to watch as possible landing spots for Ayton. The 23-year-old’s availability is still relatively ambiguous but the Suns are expected to be inundated with offers if he is indeed available.
“San Antonio, Toronto, Portland, Detroit and Atlanta have all been mentioned as potential Ayton suitors,” per Stein. “There are bound to be more if the Suns are indeed ready to move on and Ayton is truly gettable.”
The Raptors are coming off a first-round exit at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers, and while the future looks bright, Toronto's lack of a consistent presence down low remains stark. Ayton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft, would fill that gap, while simultaneously aligning with the timeline of Toronto’s young, burgeoning core.
A player to watch if Toronto does decide to strike a deal for Ayton would be OG Anunoby, as the 24-year-old has purportedly been dissatisfied with his role on the team, according to some recent reports.
In hindsight, the writing was on the wall for Ayton in Phoenix. The team tabled his max offer when he became eligible last summer and reports emerged at the beginning of the 2021-22 season that Suns brass felt Ayton was not on the level of some of his contemporaries from the 2018 draft that did receive max extensions.
If the Suns do elect to shop the young big man, however, they will have leverage, as Ayton is a restricted free agent. With Phoenix expected to revamp their roster in an attempt to return to the NBA Finals, the Raptors will certainly be a team to monitor over the coming months.
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