3. The Phoenix Suns
As the best team in the league by far record-wise, it's unlikely the Phoenix Suns will collapse in the 2022 NBA Playoffs. Their depth is immense, their coach is tremendous, and they have a wealth of star talent in Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton. That last name should be of peak interest to the Spurs come this summer.
While also acknowledging this as another long shot, the fact remains true: a disappointing playoff run by a dominant Suns squad could only hurt their chances of keeping the talented center. That might mean they have a 90% chance of keeping him instead of 98%, but it would still be something.
When penny-pinching Suns owner Robert Sarver didn't offer Ayton the five-year deal he was looking for last offseason, several reports suggested Ayton wasn't happy about it. While that's all smoothed over by now, the result is pending restricted free agency for the 23-year-old.
The Athletic's John Hollinger has previously speculated that an offer from a rebuilding team to Ayton could take the form of a three-year deal with a player option for year four or a three-year deal with a player option after year two.
Phoenix will undoubtedly do everything in their power to keep their star center, and they'll likely be able to keep him. An early playoff exit paired with Chris Paul going on his 18th year in the league, however, could at least give Ayton some pause.