Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)
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Phoenix Suns big man Deandre Ayton is still sorting out his future in free agency but NBA rumors suggest the Pacers and the Raptors are hovering.
While Kevin Durant rumors dominate NBA circles, the DeAndre Ayton situation looks ready to drag on this summer as he seeks a max deal.
The Suns are reportedly trying to deal Ayton out of Phoenix on a sign-and-trade while maneuvering to bring Durant to the desert but the details there are tough to sort out.
Meanwhile, the Utah Jazz have also been linked to the center along with the Pistons.
Still, it could be two other teams biding their time as this whole saga plays out that may ultimately snag Ayton for themselves.
NBA rumors: 2 teams lurking as DeAndre Ayton landing spots
According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the Pacers and Raptors “continue to be mentioned” as potential destinations for Ayton.
If Toronto wants to compete in the Eastern Conference, they need to introduce some size into their lineup. The 6-foot-11 center would check that box instantly for them, giving them the interior presence to better deal with elite big men they might face in the playoffs.
Indiana is in rebuild mode and Ayton is just young enough at 23 years old to be viewed as a piece worth building around.
Either landing spot seems like a good fit for Ayton assuming they want to pay him that max deal and give up an asset or two in a sign-and-trade with the Suns.
Ayton is undoubtedly one of the top remaining free agents on the market. He’s coming off a season of averaging 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds while shooting a career-high 63.4 percent from the field. Still, whoever picks him up is going to have to give him the max in an era when teams are reticent to spend that kind of money on a center.