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Gambo: Suns could trade Deandre Ayton for Jusuf Nurkić if he becomes available

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According to Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro, the Phoenix Suns could look into trading Deandre Ayton to the Portland Trailblazers in exchange for Jusuf Nurkić if he becomes available.

Gambadoro says that Nurkić’s availability is contingent on a Damian Lillard trade. The Lillard trade rumors have began heating up again with training camp less than a couple weeks away. Gambadoro is expecting a Lillard trade very soon.

He also said that the Suns have been hesitant to trade Ayton because they have not received an offer that would be an upgrade over him. However, they could feel like Nurkić would be a better option at the center position especially in new coach Frank Vogel’s system.

The 6-foot-11 Nurkić, 29, averaged 13.3 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 52 games played and started for the Blazers last season. He has been with Portland since the 2016-17 season when he was traded from Denver. The Bulls selected him with the 16th overall pick in 2014, but he has only played for the Nuggets and Blazers.

Nurkić is under contract until the 2025-26 season. He is set to make $16.785 million in 2023-24. The Blazers signed him to 4-year, $70 million deal before the 2022-23 season.

Meanwhile, Ayton is expected to make almost double Nurkić this season ($32.459 million). The Suns signed him to a 4-year, nearly $133 million contract before last season.

Phoenix already has one of Portland’s centers from last season, as they signed Drew Eubanks in free agency. Eubanks started several games in place of Nurkić when he was injured.

Gambadoro has been right on several things this offseason. He predicted the signings of Keita Bates-Diop and Yuta Watanabe, the signing of Bol Bol, the hiring of Frank Vogel and assistants Kevin Young and David Fizdale, and much more.

This would be another huge move for the Suns.

Phoenix Suns training camp to begin Oct. 3

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Brendan Mau is a Phoenix Suns insider and college sports reporter for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

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