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Report: Suns Nearly Traded Deandre Ayton at Trade Deadline

The Suns almost shipped their number-one pick away during the season, according to a report.

The contract status of Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton will be one of great interest to monitor over the coming months. The soon-to-be 24-year-old is seeking a max deal, and ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski believes he'll get it. 

Whether the Suns are the team to give him that contract is still a question. 

"There'll be a lot of conversations around the league. Deandre Ayton is going to get a max contract in the marketplace, somewhere. Phoenix really has to look at the sort of allocation financially of how they want to distribute salaries (and) money," said Wojnarowski.

"It'll be interesting to see how that season ended impacts this, but it's going to be really one of the stories of this offseason because Deandre Ayton, there are a lot of teams lining up to figure out how can we acquire him."

Ayton, a restricted free agent heading into the offseason, might just find a new team should the Suns either refuse to match an offer or sign-and-trade him. 

However, ESPN's Zach Lowe reported that Ayton was nearly traded by the Suns ahead of the NBA's trade deadline in February. 

"I reported at the trade deadline that there was communication between the Suns and the Pacers about something involving (Domantas) Sabonis and Ayton, and I wrote at the time they were just broad, exploratory (talks). Might have been one phone call, might have been aimed at the summer or future because I just found it hard to believe that Phoenix would disrupt anything they had going on in the present season," said Lowe on his podcast.

Sabonis was eventually traded to the Sacramento Kings in a six-player deal on Feb. 9. 

Lowe then discussed some teams that could fight for Ayton, whether it be on the open market or in a potential trade.

"The fact that (trade) was even whispered about, combined with the fact that they did not pay him the max … I think absolutely we're going to hear Deandre Ayton rumors starting now, starting this offseason. We can sit here and name teams, it's all the same teams that we've named where the Jazz could trade Rudy Gobert. All the teams that need centers: Charlotte, Toronto, Atlanta is a very intriguing fit."

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Lowe also named Detroit, San Antonio and Oklahoma City as potential suitors for Ayton moving forward.

It's very clear there's interest for Ayton across the league, although the Suns nearly dealt him just a few months ago. 

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