The 2022 NBA Draft did not feature a pick from the Phoenix Suns, but that did not stop it from making an impact on Planet Orange.
Although the Suns sat tight, several other teams made major chess moves on this unofficial start date to the upcoming season. To name a few, the Detroit Pistons added speedy guard Jaden Ivey, athletic front court prospect Jalen Duren, and a crafty international product in Gabriele Procida.
Many saw the Pistons as the night’s big winners, but here in the desert, they’ve been seen as poachers for the last few weeks, with reports surfacing about their intentions to sign Deandre Ayton.
The events leading up to the draft only added to this, as Detroit traded away Jerami Grant to free up even more cap room to make their run. These Motor City cap moguls currently possess $56 million in projected cap space, far and away the most by any other NBA team.
But even with all that, Detroit may be calling off the hunt on Ayton. Although the Pistons made the right financial moves to secure DA and added this young talent to pair with him, they might have done too much.
According to James L. Edwards of The Athletic, Detroit did so well at the draft, they might look to build their team up only with the core they just acquired rather than Ayton and instead spend their money on veterans to round out the roster.
In speaking on Detroit’s plans, Edwards said the following:
However, while all signs have pointed to Detroit making a serious run at Phoenix’s Deandre Ayton over the last few days, that appears less likely after the Pistons walked away with two of the players highest on the organization’s big board. Detroit is eager to continue to build back toward playoff contention with the aforementioned young core, and the Pistons are expected to use the majority of their remaining cap space to add multiple veteran pieces rather than just one big swing this offseason, per sources.
In the past week, rumblings of an Ayton trade to the Portland Trail Blazers picked up steam only to burn out a few days later as well. Although we cannot rule out Detroit pursuing Ayton at this point, Edwards did go as far as to demote doing so to a “Plan B” option for them.
Even if the Pistons do not go after Ayton though, that does not exactly solve things for the Suns. While there might be one less team present to drive up the former first overall pick’s price, others will still likely arrive to do so on July 1.
The San Antonio Spurs are still waiting in the wings, as are the Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers, and Toronto Raptors. Those teams, and the Suns for that matter, will finally decide how much Ayton is worth. It’s been a question on everyone’s mind for the last two years, it’s about time we get an answer.
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