Former Suns Coach Wanted Deandre Ayton, Pacers Swap

The Phoenix Suns didn't want Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner - but former coach Monty Williams sure did.
Feb 10, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (33) shoots the ball
Feb 10, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (33) shoots the ball / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX -- Deandre Ayton's time with the Phoenix Suns has been done for one season, and now we can reflect on the respective paths of each party.

The Suns moved Ayton ahead of the 2023-24 season to the Portland Trail Blazers in what was a massive three-team deal that saw Phoenix net Jusuf Nurkic and Grayson Allen while Damian Lillard landed with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Ayton's Blazers won just 21 games this past season while Phoenix finished with 49 regular season wins before being swept in the first round of the postseason.

It's tough to say either side was a massive winner when the dust settled, though it's clear a fresh start was needed from both parties.

Ayton - the organization's lone No. 1 lottery selection - hit restricted free agency in 2022 and signed an offer sheet with the Indiana Pacers before the Suns matched almost instantly.

Trade rumors were somewhat constant with Ayton during his tenure in the Valley, many of which circled him with Indiana both before and after he signed the offer sheet (though Ayton had a no-trade clause during the first year after signing the sheet).

Most of those rumors operated from an Ayton swap for Pacers center Myles Turner, which former coach Monty Williams pushed for. Suns brass wasn't on the same page, according to Arizona Sports' John Gambadoro.

"Monty wanted Turner. Remember - Monty didn't like D.A. [Deandre Ayton]. Monty was pushing the Suns to trade for Myles Turner, he really wanted it. The Pacers seemed very - they were like the only team interested in Deandre Ayton. The Jazz had a little interest but in the end they weren't going to do anything. All the reporting was that Ayton didn't want to come back to Phoenix - he wanted to go to the Pacers."

98.7's John Gambadoro

This matches a previous report from Gambadoro shortly after the Suns matched Indiana's offer sheet for Ayton - you can read more about that here.

Donnie Druin


Donnie Druin is the Publisher for All Cardinals and Inside The Suns. Donnie moved to Arizona in 2012 and has been with Fan Nation since 2018. In college he won "Best Sports Column" in the state of Arizona for his section and has previously provided coverage for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona State Sun Devils. Follow Donnie on Twitter @DonnieDruin for more news, updates, analysis and more!