The Phoenix Suns failed to get out of the second round of the playoffs, and center DeAndre Ayton’s future with the team appears murky, so the Brooklyn Nets might feel the time is right for them to swoop in and make a big trade.
A point of weakness for the Nets that was exposed in the playoffs especially was their lack of size. Nic Claxton is a good option for the team going forward, but he’s still very raw, and Brooklyn even had to turn to Blake Griffin for help.
If the Nets want to truly compete for a championship, they’ll need to find a way to not get bullied in the paint, and adding somebody like Ayton would help out a ton.
Ayton won’t be easy to acquire, but ESPN’s Zach Lowe suggests the Nets dangle Ben Simmons in a potential trade for him. As unlikely as it sounds, it might be enough to work.
Ben Simmons Traded?
This would be a very interesting scenario considering Simmons hasn’t ever suited up for the Nets, but it’s not outside of the realm of possibilities.
Considering the way Ayton ended his season with the Suns with him being benched in a must-win game, there’s a sense Phoenix could let him go with the right offer. If you ask Lowe, that right offer might be Ben Simmons.
“You know what would be a really fun fake trade if one of the participants were healthy and playing basketball is Ayton for Ben Simmons,” he said on the Arnovitz and Scalabrine podcast at the 18:20 mark. “I’m just throwing stuff out. The Nets as we all know in Ben Simmons or Kyrie Irving, if either or both are on the team next year, the gap between their talent and their trade value is bigger than any other player in recent NBA history.”
The Nets have a lot of question marks surrounding them as they look to capitalize on the window Irving and Kevin Durant have provided. Simmons would figure to play a big role, and coach Steve Nash has already detailed what that’d look like but it could end up being a moot point if he’s subsequently flipped.
Ayton Out in Phoenix?
Just a few days ago this wouldn’t have been a question that’s even being asked, but now there are a lot of doubts about Ayton’s future with the Suns.
It’s not exactly a secret he’s seeking the supermax extension, something Phoenix has been hesitant on giving out.
Ayton only played 17 minutes in the blowout Game 7 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, and after the game coach Monty Williams said the reason for that was “internal.”
He is a restricted free agent, so the Suns would be able to match an offer another team gives him, but they could just as easily decide to move on from the talented young center. He will have a lot of suitors around the league as a lot of teams have the cap space for him.
The Detroit Pistons have been floated as a possibility, and his signing would pair him up nicely with Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey and the rest of the young core’s timeline.
READ NEXT: Nets Reveal Plans for Ben Simmons: Report