On constructing an Ayton to Portland trade for Nurkic and a high draft pick

We two weeks away from knowing where Phoenix Suns restricted free agent Deandre Ayton will play next season. He and his agent David Falk are set to start taking free agent calls on June 30 at about 6pm eastern time. Ayton is looking for the maximum possible salary next season for player of his experience, which starts at about $30.5 million next year with raises each season thereafter.

The Phoenix Suns will either sign him to that contract right away, allow him to leave to another team or, more likely, negotiate a trade with the other team to get back some players to replace up to half of Ayton’s new salary slot.

You all know the how of trading Phoenix Suns restricted free agent Deandre Ayton this summer is complicated. He’s got that weird Base Year Compensation rule that basically prohibits the Suns from acquiring equal talent back in a trade of Ayton, but if they’re dead set on trading him the adage ‘something is better than nothing’ holds true.

It’s the why that continues to baffle me. Why would you would trade your youngest core player whose skillset is completely unique to the Suns and fairly unique in the game of basketball — three level defense + two level offense + budding third level of offense + really good playoff performer as a 22 year old.

That why is still a question for each individual to answer unto themselves,…

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