The NBA offseason is always full of drama and even before all the madness has begun this year, Damian Lillard is already stirring the pot!
On Sunday night, the Phoenix Suns lost in the Western Conference Semifinals to the Dallas Mavericks, ending what they thought would be a magical season after they had reached the NBA Finals a year ago and after they won a franchise record 64 wins this season.
Now, the Suns head back to the drawing boards looking for answers on how to potentially win their first championship in team history, but they will face a big decision in regards to Deandre Ayton’s long-term future.
Ayton is set to be a restricted free agent this summer after failing to agree to a long-term extension with Phoenix prior to the start of the 2021-22 season and with the two sides being far apart on how much the young center is worth, there is some speculation that Deandre Ayton could entertain other offers in free agency.
The Portland Trail Blazers failed to reach the playoffs for the first-time since 2013 this year and with them searching for talent to put around Damian Lillard, it seems like the superstar point guard is already beginning his free agency recruitment.
Following the Suns’ loss on Sunday night, Lillard appeared to “like” a tweet suggesting that Deandre Ayton should join the Portland Trail Blazers in the summer.
As of right now, many anticipate the Suns and Ayton coming to some sort of an agreement for him to remain in Phoenix this offseason, but there is a lot of drama brewing between the two sides.
Not only does Suns owner Robert Sarver not want to extend Ayton on a long-term, high-paying contract, but after scoring just five points in 17 minutes against the Mavericks in Game 7 on Sunday, Suns head coach Monty Williams stated that “it’s internal” as to why the young star center was not on the floor for Phoenix.
With Jusuf Nurkic being an unrestricted free agent for Portland this summer, they could very well have a hole to fill in their frontcourt and Deandre Ayton would be a perfect replacement alongside Damian Lillard because of his skillset and age.
Ayton is only 23-years-old, turning 24 in July, and he has proven to be a top-tier center in this league over the last two postseasons for the Suns.
The Trail Blazers are going to be looking to “re-tool” their roster around Lillard instead of “rebuild” around him, which is why they could wind up giving the Suns a run for their money in regards to pursuing Deandre Ayton.
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