Ric Bucher adamant Suns will trade Deandre Ayton if they get off to bad start - "I would not be surprised if he was on another team by Christmas" 

Deandre Ayton will remain as the Phoenix Suns
Deandre Ayton will remain as the Phoenix Suns' starting center next season.

Deandre Ayton had the power to veto any trade for one season after the Phoenix Suns decided to match the Indiana Pacers’ $133 million offer. Ayton’s leverage ended starting the first week of July 2023.

The Suns asserted when Ayton still had veto power, that they were making him a big part of their future. If Phoenix, however, gets off to a bad start, things could quickly change.

NBA insider Ric Bucher had this to say on the "Doug Gottlieb Show" about Ayton’s situation in Phoenix:

(9:15 mark)

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“I think they go into the season with him [Ayton] and see how things happen but I would not be surprised if he was on another team by Christmas. While they [Suns] have made some additions to their bench, I don’t know if it’s enough."

The Phoenix Suns traded for Bradley for a package centered around aging superstar guard Chris Paul. Beal joins a team that is top-end heavy with Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton in the lineup.

Phoenix desperately scrambled to add depth to their roster, which they eventually did. Eric Gordon was one of the free agents they managed to sign in free agency.

The Suns’ depth, though, could still be suspect. If they get to a rough start, the team could look to ship their most tradeable asset, which will be Deandre Ayton.

In the semifinals against the Denver Nuggets, Ayton averaged 10.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists. He couldn’t replicate his performance in the regular season and the first round of the playoffs against the LA Clippers.


Deandre Ayton was repeatedly exposed by Nikola Jokic. Most analysts understood that playing against “The Joker” was going to be tough. They just couldn’t give Ayton a pass for showing half-hearted effort on defense and in rebounding.

Chris Paul’s absence could affect Deandre Ayton’s production

In 160 games with Chris Paul, Deandre Ayton averaged 16.1 PPG, hitting 60.9% of his shots. He also added 10.2 RPG and 1.4 APG.

Ric Bucher had this to say about how Paul’s absence could affect Ayton:

“Chris Paul was able to get Ayton a lot of looks, buckets and touches and I don’t know if he’s gonna see the same with Bradley Beal, Devin Booker and whoever it is that’s gonna make the concerted effort to do the same.”

Devin Booker averaged 7.2 assists in the playoffs last season on top of his NBA-best 33.7 points per game. New coach Frank Vogel will be giving the keys of the offense to “Book” without a point guard in the rotation.

Deandre Ayton is averaging 16.4 PPG, 10.4 RPG and 1.5 APG in 252 games with Booker. The big man is hitting 60.9% of his shots, so there seems to be not much of a difference.

It remains to be seen how Ayton will perform in the Phoenix Suns’ new setup. He may be the first one out the door if the team struggles to open next season.

Also read: “Deandre Ayton looked like a bust before CP” – Draymond Green believes Chris Paul can unlock potential on Warriors bench

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Edited by Michael Macasero
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