The Phoenix Suns are likely to trade Deandre Ayton while Chris Paul is “more likely” to remain with the team, according to NBA insider Tim MacMahon.
In the wake of a disappointing series loss to the Denver Nuggets in the second round, the Suns have already made a significant move at head coach, parting with Monty Williams and hiring Frank Vogel to replace him.
Even though Ayton and Williams had their conflicts, Williams being gone likely isn’t enough to get the Suns to rethink their plans for the center, according to MacMahon.
“Certainly, it’s been well-chronicled the head-butting between Deandre Ayton and Monty Williams,” MacMahon said during a podcast appearance. “But by no stretch do I believe that Monty Williams’ departure makes it much more likely for Deandre Ayton to still be in Phoenix next season. I still am pretty sure Deandre will be traded this summer.”
A possible Ayton-Suns divorce has been brewing for some time. The big man signed an offer sheet with the Indiana Pacers last offseason, but Phoenix matched that deal. Now, with the Suns needing to replenish their roster after trading for Kevin Durant during the season, it might be just the right time for the sides to move on.
Paul, on the order hand, still has value to the Suns even though he is an aging player and missed the end of the second-round series against the Nuggets with an injury. MacMahon did speculate that the Suns also could choose to move on from the guard if he’d bring in a nice return, but it’s unclear if that’s in the cards.
“They’ve got a decision to make on Chris Paul,” MacMahon said. “I think that one is certainly more likely for Chris Paul to be back. They need to understand what their potential options are there as well. Obviously, Chris Paul is still a very good player, but at 38 years old, if they could somehow turn him into a couple of quality role players, I think that’d be something that they would have to seriously consider.”
The Suns are trying to do everything they can to build a solid supporting cast around Devin Booker and Durant. They were able to land their top head-coaching choice when they agreed to terms with Vogel on a five-year deal worth $31 million. He was attractive to the Suns because he has an NBA championship on his resume after coaching the Los Angeles Lakers to the 2020 title.
He was fired after the Lakers failed to make the playoffs last season.
Williams, on the other hand, quickly was hired by the Detroit Pistons, getting a six-year contract worth $78.5 million.