Pistons Could Pursue Suns’ Deandre Ayton In Free Agency?

Deandre Ayton, Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The Detroit Pistons could already have an eye toward the NBA offseason. With a record of 9-31, they are well on their way to another trip in the lottery, as they are one of the few teams that don’t look like they will be challenging for at least a spot in the NBA Play-In Tournament.

The Pistons knew they would be rebuilding, but to have a record this poor was unexpected. Some people felt they could be a dark horse for at least a play-in spot, especially after they landed the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and selected Oklahoma State point guard, Cade Cunningham.

Alas, things have not gone as planned. But, the team could still play an important part in the playoff races because they could trade Jerami Grant. Grant is one of the better players that could be made available ahead of the deadline, pushing a team closer to becoming contenders should they acquire him.

While they do not want to move Grant, it could be for the betterment of the franchise. Paying him a contract extension given where they are in their rebuild likely isn’t good business. So, capitalizing on his value with more long-term assets makes sense.

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The organization could improve that outlook this offseason in free agency. Detroit will be one of the few teams with cap space, so they could become players in free agency based on the fact they will have the cap space to spend.

One player to keep an eye on when it comes to the Pistons is Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton. According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, Detroit could pursue Ayton this summer when he is a restricted free agent.

As noted, the Pistons are believed to be targeting a big man with their projected cap room this summer. Deandre Ayton may be their primary target, but many around the league expect the Phoenix Suns to retain him despite failing to reach an extension with him before the season.

The Suns and Ayton were unable to work out a contract extension before the 2021-22 season, making him a restricted free agent. Ayton was seeking max money and wouldn’t accept anything lower. Suns’ ownership didn’t believe he was a max player, so no deal was reached.

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It was a shocking development, as Ayton seemed like a shoo-in for an extension, but the team had other plans. Now, they could lose him for nothing in free agency if he agrees to a max deal with another team and the Phoenix Suns still feel as strongly as they did in October.

At 23-years old, Deandre Ayton would fit the Detroit Pistons’ timeline they are currently on. He has shown that he can be an anchor defensively and is extremely efficient offensively. Ayton would be a great addition to the middle for Detroit should they be able to pry him away from Phoenix.