Will he Stay With the Suns?

Following the Phoenix Suns’ early and disappointing playoff exit, the main storyline surrounding the team has been the future of Deandre Ayton. With the Suns not extending his contract at the end of last season, his name was at the center of plenty of trade rumors leading up to last week’s 2022 NBA Draft. Although the draft has come and gone without a trade, it still hasn’t led to much confidence Ayton will remain in Phoenix.

NBA free agency officially starts Thursday, June 30, and DraftKings Arizona recently posted odds for which team Ayton will be playing for in the 2022-2023 season. What are the odds Ayton stays with the Suns? What would the impact be for Phoenix if Ayton isn’t in the Valley? Let’s dive in.

Deandre Ayton Next Team Odds

Per DraftKings, these are the odds listed for which team Ayton will be playing for at the start of the 2022-23 season.

TeamOdds

Phoenix Suns+130

Brooklyn Nets+250

San Antonio Spurs+500

Detroit Pistons+550

Atlanta Hawks+1400

Toronto Raptors+1500

Indiana Pacers+2000

Charlotte Hornets+2000

Chicago Bulls+2500

Portland Blazers+3000

Houston Rockets+3000

Washington Wizards+3500

Utah Jazz+3500

Orlando Magic+4000

New Orleans Pelicans+4000

Oklahoma City Thunder+4500

As we can see, the oddsmakers at DraftKings believe Ayton staying in Phoenix is the most likely outcome. At +130 odds, the implied probability Ayton remains in the Valley is about 43.5%. The Brooklyn Nets are next in line at +250, or an implied probability of 28.6%. The San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons have implied probabilities of 16.7% and 15.4%, respectively. After those four teams, we have a big drop-off to the Atlanta Hawks at +1400, or 6.7% implied probability.

One thing to keep in mind with all of this is that Ayton is a restricted free agent. This means the Suns, who are among the favorites to win the NBA title next season, will have the opportunity to match any offer coming from another team. That seems unlikely, however, considering there hasn’t been any chatter of a contract extension or even communication between Ayton and the front office.

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Ayton’s Impact on the Suns

As the first overall pick in the 2018 draft, Ayton has been a centerpiece of the organization. Through his first four years with the Suns, Ayton has been on the floor for 30.7 minutes per game and is averaging 16.3 points and 10.5 rebounds. During last year’s playoffs, Ayton averaged 17.9 points and 8.9 rebounds, although his performance (or lack thereof) during the Suns’ game 7 loss to Dallas was heavily scrutinized when he posted five points and four boards over 17 minutes. His 17.2 points per game during the 2021 regular season were second to only Devin Booker.

Here is where Ayton ranked in a handful of stats across the NBA this past season:

Rebounds per game: 10th
Effective FG %: 4th
Player efficiency rating: 17th
Win shares per 48 minutes: 12th
Offensive rating: 16th
Defensive rating: 6th

If Ayton does indeed join another squad through free agency, the Suns could be in some trouble at center. In addition to Ayton, both JaVale McGee and Bismack Biyombo are unrestricted free agents. The best possible outcome for the Suns would be to complete a sign-and-trade if Ayton leaves Phoenix. On top of potential depth issues, the Suns currently have the second-oldest team in the league with an average age of 28.9. 

No matter what happens, the 2022 NBA free agency period is sure to be a wild ride. Buckle up, Suns fans.

Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire