Despite persistent rumors regarding his future in Phoenix, the Suns plan to keep center Deandre Ayton on the roster moving forward, according to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report. The Suns drafted Ayton with the first overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, and he has served as the team’s starting center since.
The Suns have shaken things up in a major way since they were eliminated by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals last month. First, they parted ways with head coach Monty Williams and replaced him with Frank Vogel, who led the Los Angeles Lakers to a championship in 2020. Most recently, the team traded for All-Star guard Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards. Beal will pair up with Kevin Durant and Devin Booker to form arguably the top trio in the league. The rest of the roster still needs some work, though.
There was some speculation that the Suns could look to flip Ayton in order to bolster their depth, but it appears as though the team will hold on to the big man instead. He projects to be the fourth starter alongside Beal, Booker and Durant. For what it’s worth, Ayton recently stated that he would like to remain in Phoenix.
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“Man, I love Phoenix,” Ayton said last month. “Honestly, I’m going to continue playing hard for Phoenix, and keep repping Phoenix like I’ve always been repping Phoenix, and that’s about it. I don’t listen to the outside noise. I’m here. I’m happy.”
It makes sense that the Suns would want to hang on to Ayton. He has been a productive player over the course of his career, and they’ll need a serviceable big man to go up against the likes of Nikola Jokic and some of the other bigger bodies in the West. Plus, Frank Vogel has a history of building very good defenses anchored by a big man, and Ayton fits that mold. Vogel got the best out of Roy Hibbert during his days in Indiana, and Phoenix is likely hoping he can do the same with Ayton.