Detroit targeting Deandre Ayton in free agency:

After the trade, the Pistons have roughly $ 43 million at their disposal. Per sources, Detroit is heavily expected to pursue Phoenix Suns big man and 2018 No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton in the open market. The Pistons may also look to the trade block to make use of that cap space if Ayton stays put in Phoenix or lands elsewhere.
Source: James L. Edwards III @ The Athletic:

What’s the buzz on Twitter?

Mark Deeks: @MarkDeeksNBA:
Jaden Ivey:
Cunningham Street:
Deandre Ayton:
Saddiq Bey:
Hamidou Diallo:
Saben Lee:
Isaiah Stewart:
Killian Hayes (it may increasingly be a one-man fan club but dammit we’re still open for business)
+ a few extras TBD:
… .OK, I’m listening. – 6:50 PM:

David Hardisty: @clutchfans:
The Pistons getting Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey and DeAndre Ayton together would be pretty interesting. Sacramento really should be shopping that 4th pick hard if they’re not taking Ivey. – 6:49 PM:

Eric Koreen: @ekoreen:
Gotta think the Pistons are gonna take a run at one of the big three restricted guys: Ayton, Bridges or Brunson – 6:31 PM:

Dave Early: @DavidEarly:
Lot changed since Mar. (Ayton, etc.) but had: @Jake Fischer: on pod & he predicted we could be talking more about #Pistons than people expect w / a possible Jerami Grant deal kicking things off. Mentioned them as potential Jalen Brunson suitors too. PM:

Tommy Beer: @TommyBeer:
The Pistons now looking at over $ 55 million in cap space this summer… so the winner of the Portland-Detroit trade may be DeAndre Ayton and / or Miles Brides – as the Pistons can now an extend max offer sheets – 6:16 PM:

Ky Carlin: @Ky_Carlin:
I feel like the Pistons are positioning themselves for free agency. I wonder if they have DeAndre Ayton in their sights. – 6:16 PM:

Sam Quinn: @SamQuinnCBS:
Maybe the Pistons have some very specific plans for the cap space they just created? That’s the only explanation I can think of for the Grant deal. Maybe they’re hoping this knocks Portland out of the Ayton race? – 6:08 PM:

Dave Mason: @DeuceMason:
Pistons must be aiming for Ayton by clearing all this room. LETS GET WILD. – 6:04 PM:

Chris Herrington: @ChrisHerrington:
If they’re sending out Grant without taking back salary could set up an Ayton offer sheet? – 6:00 PM:

Ric Bucher: @RicBucher:
What’s next for Warriors’ core, Kyrie Irving, Deandre Ayton and others… – 3:57 PM:

Micah Adams: @MicahAdams13:
Starting centers on NBA champs:
Kevon Looney: $ 5.2M:
Brook Lopez: $ 12.7M:
Dwight Howard: $ 2.6M:
Marc Gasol: $ 24.1M:
JaVale McGee: $ 1.5M:
Tristan Thompson: $ 14.3M:
Andrew Bogut: $ 12.9M:
Tiago Splitter: $ 10.0M:
Avg salary: $ 9.3M:
Keep that in mind when chatting Ayton max or Gobert trade. – 11:22 AM:

Gerald Bourguet: @GeraldBourguet:
Bourguet Breakdown, Part 2: Self-creation is the next, necessary step in Deandre Ayton’s evolution toward max player – via @PHNX_Suns PM:

More on this storyline:

Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic shared to Twitter on Monday an updated list of celebrity participants at Phoenix Suns center JaVale McGee’s upcoming charity softball game. Several of McGee’s teammates are slated to attend, including Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Cameron Payne, Cameron Johnson, Landry Shamet, Torrey Craig, and Ish Wainwright. Suns GM James Jones is also on the list of participants. One prominent figure missing from the list though is Ayton. At such a Suns-heavy event, his absence here feels very loud (and potentially serves as a hint that he plans to leave the team). -via Larry Brown Sports / June 21, 2022:

Duane Rankin: Updated. Cameron Payne for Deandre Ayton. Payne is one of the confirmed participants for JaVale McGee’s Juglife Foundation Water of Life Charity Softball Game as is Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Mikal Bridges. -via: Twitter @DuaneRankin: / June 21, 2022:

Suns commentator Eddie Johnson spoke with PHNX_Suns about Ayton, who is a restricted free agent. “He can not escape the Suns if they do not want him to,” Johnson said. “That has to be laid out there. I think some people out there are saying, ‘Oh, he’s going to leave and they’re going to lose him.’ No, they do not have to lose him. He signs an offer sheet from somebody else, they can match the offer sheet. ” The Suns can not only match any offer, but pay him more than anyone else with a max deal of five years, $ 177 million. “For Ayton right now, it’s really up to him and what he’s willing to accept,” Johnson added. -via Arizona Republic / June 18, 2022:

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