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#pounditTuesday, November 29, 2022

Report: Suns likely to move on from key starter

Monty Williams on the sideline

Jan 10, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams against the Orlando Magic at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns are coming off the heels of a disappointing playoff exit, and major changes may be in the works.

One of those changes may involve starting center Deandre Ayton. Ayton, a former first overall pick, is poised to become a restricted free agent this offseason. According to John Hollinger of The Athletic, it is “more likely than not” that Ayton is moved during the offseason, especially if Phoenix is able to find an appealing sign-and-trade opportunity.

The report names the Detroit Pistons as one team expected to do its due diligence regarding Ayton, but it is unclear how serious that interest may be.

Ayton’s future with the Suns has been murky for some time now. Contract talks before the season yielded nothing but frustration on both sides. That uncertainty hung over Ayton all season, and reports of a significant clash with coach Monty Williams during the Suns’ playoff exit did not help matters.

Ayton is still young with upside, as he turns 24 in July. The center averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game for Phoenix in 58 games last season.

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