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#pounditThursday, August 18, 2022

Deandre Ayton linked to notable Eastern Conference team

Deandre Ayton looks ahead

Jan 3, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) against the New York Knicks at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Deandre Ayton already seems to have one foot on the plane out of Phoenix. Now it turns out that his next stop could be on the other side of the country.

Appearing this week on “The Athletic NBA Show,” Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer indicated that the Atlanta Hawks will be in the mix to sign the Phoenix Suns center Ayton this offseason.

“Atlanta is definitely another team that I’ve heard for Ayton,” said Fischer. “There’s one person I talked to pretty consistently who’s like convinced Ayton is the guy that Atlanta wants.”

The former No. 1 overall pick Ayton will become a restricted free agent this summer. The Hawks, with $152 million already on the books for next year, may have to get imaginative in order to make a realistic run at him. But they do have bigs John Collins and Clint Capela (their second and fourth highest-paid guys) to offer in a possible sign-and-trade for the higher-upside Ayton.

Ayton, 23, would hypothetically work well with Trae Young, who was a part of the same 2018 draft class. Ayton has offensive polish beyond just being a pure lob threat and can defend several positions with his 7-foot-6 wingspan. But there might be a more dynamic guard who wants to team up with Ayton.

H/T ProBasketballTalk

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