The Suns Are Keeping Deandre Ayton. They Should Trade Him as Soon as Possible.

Phoenix Suns v Golden State Warriors
Phoenix Suns v Golden State Warriors / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

The Phoenix Suns plan on keeping Deandre Ayton instead of trading him away. That's according to a report from Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes on Sunday. My only question: why?

Ayton doesn't seem to fit with the Suns' new lineup. Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal are likely to play an up-tempo, perimeter-oriented style and it's not like the 24-year-old is even an elite rim protector. On top of that, Ayton hasn't looked happy in Phoenix for two seasons. Hanging onto him makes no sense when he still has trade value.

During the 2022-23 season, Ayton averaged 18.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 30.4 minutes per game. It's highly-likely those numbers take a major hit with three high-level perimeter scorers around him. If his stats sink, so will his trade value. Additionally, the No. 1 pick from the 2018 NBA Draft was largely ineffective against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals. He only averaged 10.8 points and 8.2 rebounds in 29.6 minutes and appeared frustrated on the bench.

Last summer, Ayton signed a four-year, $133 million roffer sheet with the Indiana Pacers as a restricted free agent. His fit in Phoenix was so awkward many believed the franchise wouldn't match the deal and let him walk. In the end, the Suns did and welcomed him back. The partnership still seemed uneasy.

The Suns are proclaiming Ayton is a big part of the team's plans, but that could just be posturing. It's hard to see how he fits with Durant, Booker and Beal long term. We'll see what happens, but this remains a really strange match and the obvious solution for the Suns moving forward would be to trade Ayton while he still has value.