We have been speculating since the Suns' season ended that the 23-year-old center could find himself in the Silver and Black due to their bountiful cap space. A Monday report may have finally put that to bed.
"A sign-and-trade deal for Deandre Ayton between the Suns and Pacers is very close," said Brian Windhorst on ESPN Monday morning. Windhorst added that if they go the offer sheet route, they may even sign Ayton to one as early as Monday.
Deandre Ayton was probably never considering San Antonio
I don't have any reports or rumors to back this up, but my gut feeling is the Spurs knew all along that Ayton wasn't considering climbing aboard. After all, I don't believe Brian Wright would've pulled the trigger on the Dejounte Murray deal if there was a chance they could pull an All-Star-caliber big into the fold to potentially prevent a full rebuild.
Would Ayton make the Spurs an instant contender even if they'd kept Murray? No, but he certainly would've increased the team's floor significantly. A starting unit of Ayton, Murray, Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, and Jeremy Sochan makes for a playoff team in the Western Conference in my mind.
In the end, he'd unlikely be the franchise-changing piece that would turn everything around in the Alamo City, but given his skillset and fit with what San Antonio needs, it's a shame the pairing likely isn't going to happen.
This season, fans will likely have to show more patience than they've shown since the Spurs went 20-62 in 1996. In the end, they'll likely have to find their center of the future in an upcoming NBA Draft. Considering their luck with drafting bigs in the past, that might not be so bad.