Pass or Pursue: Top 10 NBA Free Agents in 2022

Bradley Beal, Deandre Ayton
Bradley Beal, Deandre Ayton / Will Newton/GettyImages
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San Antonio Spurs - NBA Free Agents
Deandre Ayton / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

5. Deandre Ayton (Restricted)

Over his four seasons, Deandre Ayton has established himself as one of the most reliable centers in the NBA. The 2021-22 season was his fourth straight averaging a double-double, as he put up 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, and he did so while also showing he can knock down threes on occasion.

Ayton is closer to an old-school center in that he does most of his damage in the paint, but he's certainly capable of knocking down jump shots -- something the Spurs are currently lacking from their starting center position.

At 6-11 and just 23 years old, it's hard to imagine a better fit for San Antonio this offseason than someone like Ayton. In fact, when I surveyed the Air Alamo staff and fans with 10 wish list scenarios for this summer, signing Ayton finished second among all potential options given.

It's a huge long shot that Deandre would even take a meeting with the Spurs since he's happy in Phoenix, who seems primed to make another deep playoff run. But the pick and roll specialist would instantly make San Antonio a playoff team, so they have to do everything in their power to at least try.

Verdict: Pursue