He is a part of the three-team deal that sent Damian Lillard to the Bucks
What started off as a quiet Wednesday afternoon in the National Basketball Association (NBA) turned out to a busy one as news broke that the Phoenix Suns, Portland Trailblazers and the Milwaukee Bucks finalized a three-team trade that included moving Bahamian DeAndre Ayton, the starting big man of the Suns, to the Blazers.
The details of the deal have the Blazers acquiring Ayton, Jrue Holiday, Tounamani Camara, a 2029 unprotected first round pick from the Bucks, and unprotected swap rights in 2028 and 2030 with the Bucks. The Blazers are looking to move Holiday as they rebuild. The Suns received Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little and Keon Johnson. The Bucks will get disgruntled Blazers’ guard Damian Lillard who originally had the Miami Heat as a preferred landing spot.
The Ayton era in Phoenix is over after five years. The big man was the Suns’ number one overall draft pick in 2018. Ayton did not get to truly live up to that number one pick status after having to play third and fourth fiddle behind Devin Booker, Chris Paul and eventually Kevin Durant.
Suns’ fans were hoping to see how Ayton was going to be used under new Head Coach Frank Vogel after many believe he was under-utilized under former Head Coach Monty Williams. It is no secret that
Ayton and the latter clashed at times, especially during their 2021-2022 playoff run that ended with the center being benched in the second half of Game Seven of their playoff battle against the Dallas Mavericks, which they eventually lost.
Before being traded, Ayton and Booker were the only remaining members of the Suns team that went to the NBA Finals in 2021 and lost 4-2 to the Bucks. He made the NBA’s All-Rookie Team in the 2018-2019 season and was the NBA Player of the Week once.
The five-year player now joins a team that is in rebuilding mode and he can see an uptick in his statistics as he can be the focal point of Head Coach Chauncey Billups. There is little doubt that he will be the starting center on a team of younger players.
Last season, Ayton finished averaging a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds per game in 30.4 minutes per game. He was featured in 67 games last season and shot 58.9 percent from the field.
In total, Ayton appeared in 303 regular season games for the Sun and averaged 16.7 points and 10.4 rebounds per game in his five-year career. He has shot a regular season career clip of 59.7 percent from the field. Ayton was featured in 45 playoff games and started in all of those games. He averaged 15.9 points and 10.5 rebounds in 33.7 minutes per game in the playoffs. He shot the ball at a 62.9 percent clip in his playoff career.
Ayton attained a career-high of 35 points twice while posting a career-high in rebounds to the volume of 22 once.
The Bahamian had a good summer, representing The Bahamas in the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament in Santiago del Estero, Argentina. He was instrumental in helping The Bahamas qualify for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer. Ayton and The Bahamas took down Argentina twice to win the pre-qualifying tournament. He averaged 15.5 points, 13.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.8 blocks in 29.9 minutes per contest in thee pre-qualifiers.