Let's Set Odds: What Team Will Deandre Ayton Play for Next Season?

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton.
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton. / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns went down in unceremonious fashion on Sunday night in Game 7 on their home floor, leaving questions around the franchise as they head into the offseason.

Deandre Ayton only played 17 minutes in the 123-90 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7, and none in the fourth quarter. Ayton, who didn't come to terms on a new contract with the Suns last offseason after being a key cog in an NBA Finals appearance, is now set to his restricted free agency.

With a bloated cap sheet, it's a question mark that he will be back in Phoenix next season, so let's speculate where he can land.

There isn't much cap space around the league right now, but Ayton is worth of a max contract after 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds on the NBA's best regular season team. With that in mind, let's set some hypothetical odds as to where Ayton can land that lucrative new contract.

Deandre Ayton Free Agency Team Odds

  • Phoenix Suns: +150
  • Detroit Pistons: +250
  • Charlotte Hornets: +475
  • Portland Trail Blazers: +550
  • Indiana Pacers: +700
  • Atlanta Hawks: +800
  • San Antonio Spurs: +850
  • Orlando Magic: +1100

Ayton is a restricted free agent, so the Suns will have the right to match any contract that is offered in the market. Will they? That is a tricky question considering the Suns would then go deep into the luxury tax with a massive pay increase for the former No. 1 pick. With limited teams in the league with cap space (more on that in a bit) that make sense for Ayton, we will keep the Suns as the most likely landing spot for him.

The teams with max salary cap in the league are: Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs; if we are looking for targets for Ayton, these are likely the contenders.

The Pistons selected Cade Cunningham No. 1 overall last season and showed signs of promise down the stretch, going 8-13 with a -2.1 net rating from March 1st to the end of the regular season. Prior to that, the Pistons had the worst net rating in basketball at -9.6. With some positive momentum and cap space, the Pistons could look to put the 23 year old Ayton around Cunningham as both players are on the same timeline.

A team that doesn't have cap space but has big contracts that could be on the move is the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets are desperate for frontcourt help and have been linked many times to big men on the potential trade market like Rudy Gobert. Could the Hornets move out cap space to bring in Ayton to run the pick-and-roll with LaMelo Ball and a new coach? Charlotte surely would like to take a leap after losing in the play-in game in back-to-back seasons.

The Indiana Pacers have max cap space, but will likely look to move Myles Turner out to open up space for Ayton if they prefer. The team moved on from Domantas Sabonis at the trade deadline and Turner has been the source of trade rumors for several months now.

Keep an eye on the Portland Trail Blazers too, who need to move players to open up max cap space but do have Damian Lillard on the roster and surely want to get out of the lottery after bottoming out in the 2021-22 season.

You can find all of Reed's bets HERE!