The Phoenix Suns continue to find themselves at the helm of rumors, mostly thanks to the undecided future of center Deandre Ayton.
While the Suns are thought to be in favor of shipping Ayton away in a sign-and-trade that would at least net them some compensation in his absence, trade scenarios have come hot and heavy online.
Most trades you see involve just two teams, the Suns of course offering Ayton to another team in exchange for picks and veteran players.
Three Teams Likely Needed for Deandre Ayton Trade
However, 98.7 FM's John Gambadoro says a three-team deal would be the most likely course of action.
"You got about $30 million going out but they could only take back $19 million. But the team that trades for Deandre has to move out at least $24 million, and the Suns can't take back $24 million, they can only take back $19 million. So that way there has to be a third team involved, there has to be other players involved. I don't think that a (Jonas) Valančiūnas or a (Jusuf) Nurkic, I don't think the Suns (would be interested). I think they're getting away from that," said Gambadoro.
Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey pegged the Suns as one landing spot for Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby, as the five-year vet has the rumor mill running at rampant pace on his future with the team.
The Logic Behind Anunoby Landing With Suns
Bailey offered this reasoning as to why the Suns may be a trade partner with Toronto:
"As soon as the Phoenix Suns were bounced in the second round of the playoffs, rumors about Deandre Ayton's future with the team started flying. The team failed to secure him long-term with a contract extension last summer, so he'll enter restricted free agency as one of the most coveted players on the market.
"Ayton isn't the defensive game-changer Gobert is, but he's six years younger and has a deeper offensive arsenal. Gobert is one of the league's best roll men, but Ayton can do that, post up a little bit and hit a face-up jumper from the mid-range.
"Coach Nick Nurse is about as well-equipped as anyone to coach Ayton up on the defensive end, too. He's made strides on that end with Phoenix, but there's still room to grow.
"If Phoenix does indeed open the bidding for Ayton, and others around the league can't top this package, the deal makes some sense for the Suns as well.
"Chris Paul won't play forever, but last season, all of Phoenix's centers produced at roughly the same level when sharing the floor with CP3. It's safe to assume Chris Boucher would get a similar bump, and he's also shown some floor-spacing ability (he shot 38.3 percent from three in 2020-21).
"Adding Anunoby to a largely positionless corps of wings and guards that includes Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder and Cameron Johnson makes plenty of sense.
"A big reason the Suns lost to the Dallas Mavericks was their inability to match up against five-out lineups. Anunoby can conceivably play some 5 in situations like that."
The Suggested Trade
Phoenix Suns receive: OG Anunoby, Chris Boucher, a 2023 first-round pick swap and a 2024 first-round pick
Toronto Raptors receive: Deandre Ayton
The only problem? From the parameters of this deal, the Suns would need to include more salary going back since they could only take in around $19 million (Anunoby/Boucher combine for about $30.7 million).
That's where a third team would be beneficial (and almost a must) in this process for the Suns to return something of value.
However it happens, Anunoby would be a welcome sight in Phoenix.
Anunoby is set to turn 25-years-old in July and has played in the league for five seasons. He was the No. 23 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and is currently the league's only British player.
Anunoby averaged 17.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 48 games this past season with the Raptors. He also averaged 1.5 steals per game as well.
He's set to make $17.4 million during the 2022-23 season.
As far as his strengths, his versatility and defensive prowess to match up in multiple spots would be coveted.
However, his PSA (points per shot attempt) of 109.1 ranks in the 37th percentile of all wing players according to Cleaning the Glass. Anunoby, to his credit, is a respectable three-point shooter with a career average of 37.2% conversation rate behind the arc.
Fellow Bleacher Report basketball expert Jake Fischer offered this on the Ayton situation and Toronto's interest in a center:
"I think what really started to shift the thought of, 'Deandre's gonna actually be available this summer' is because ever since they brought back Bismack Biyombo basically off the street, you started hearing a lot of executives say that Phoenix executives were pretty openly saying, 'Man, Chris Paul is so good. If we can just get a replacement level rim-runner, we'll be fine.' On the Toronto side of things, they do not apparently view that way … Their interest in a center is definitely very real."
Of course, the price must be right for Phoenix to pull a trigger on a trade for him, yet Anunoby is a player that could land with the Suns and be perfectly fine without touching the ball each play, fortifying Phoenix's defense and extending even more versatile looks for coach Monty Williams to implement.
Thank you for making Inside The Suns your destination for Phoenix Suns news. Please be sure to give us a like on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @InsideTheSunsSI for more news, updates, analysis and more!