A new trade proposal has the Phoenix Suns acquiring one of the best small forwards in the NBA.
Golden State Warriors Receive: Deandre Ayton
Phoenix Suns Receive: Andrew Wiggins, Kevon Looney, Moses Moody
Wiggins helped the Warriors win the 2022 championship over the Boston Celtics in six games. He was rewarded with a lucrative four-year, $109 million extension in October 2022. The one-time All-Star will earn $24.3 million next season.
Wiggins appeared in 37 games for the Warriors last season. He averaged 17.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting 47.3% from the field, 39.6% from beyond the arc and 61.1% from the free-throw line.
The 28-year-old Wiggins has career NBA averages of 19.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Warriors. He won the 2014-15 Rookie of the Year Award with the Timberwolves.
Lee Tran: Suns Land ‘An Elite Wing Defender & Add Depth’
“Overall, this trade gives the Phoenix Suns three quality players to round out their roster and add depth,” Tran wrote. “Though DeAndre Ayton is a good player, splitting him into multiple players to create a more balanced roster is more conducive to winning a championship than staying top-heavy. The Suns are an older roster, and depth is key to being able to withstand injuries to key players. This trade could be the move that vaults the Phoenix Suns over the opposition in the West, and though moving Ayton is a risk, in this case, it is absolutely warranted.”
Ayton averaged 18.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season for the Suns while shooting 58.9% from the floor and 76.0% from the free-throw line. The Arizona product recorded 36 double-doubles in 67 games.
However, Ayton’s level of play declined in the 2023 playoffs. The big man averaged 13.4 points and 9.7 rebounds in 10 games against the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets. Ayton put up 10.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in the Nuggets series and didn’t record a positive plus-minus rating in any contest.
The Suns lost to the Nuggets in the conference semifinals in six games. Ayton didn’t play in Game 6 due to a rib contusion he suffered in Game 5 and was heavily criticized by Phoenix fans.
Major Reason Revealed for Why Suns Haven’t Traded Deandre Ayton Yet
The Suns haven’t traded Ayton because “there is no viable trade right now turning Ayton into the kinds of players (or picks) that would maintain or boost the Suns’ title odds,” according to Zach Lowe of ESPN.
“The Suns’ top priority — from Ishbia to Ayton and down to the 15th man — should be doing whatever it takes to repair their relationship with Ayton, to lift him back up,” Lowe wrote. “The Suns’ likely path toward a good-enough defense is switching a ton across the perimeter while keeping Ayton closer to the paint as the last line.”