Most Suns fans were not happy to hear the rumor that the team could trade Deandre Ayton for Blazers’ center Jusuf Nurkić should Nurkić come available.
The rumor was first reported yesterday by Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro. He said that the Suns could “look into” trading for Nurkić because they could feel he is an upgrade over Ayton in new coach Frank Vogel’s system. Nurkić’s availability is contingent on a Damian Lillard trade, which could happen any time now, Gambadoro reported.
The Suns trading Deandre Ayton for Jusuf Nurkic would be a colossal mistake.
I’ve loved every bit of their offseason so far, but that’s taking two steps back.
— Zona Sports (@AZSportsZone) September 22, 2023
The problem for most Suns’ fans is they don’t like Nurkić’s defense over Ayton. Below is a comparison of their 2022-23 regular season stats.
Ayton: 18.0 PPG | 10.0 RPG | 1.7 APG | 0.8 BPG | 0.6 SPG | 1.8 TOV on 58.9/29.2/76 splits in 30.4 MPG in 67 games/starts
Nurkić: 13.3 PPG | 9.1 RPG | 2.9 APG | 0.8 BPG | 0.8 SPG | 2.3 TOV on 51.9/36.1/66.1 splits in 26.8 MPG in 52 games/starts
Ayton is also 25 years old, whereas Nurkić is 29.
Ayton’s 18/10 58.8fg% .8blk
Nurkic’s 13/9 51.9fg% .8blk pic.twitter.com/pF6iFCiBqV
— jadon (@jGuwapo_) September 22, 2023
I can’t believe how low some of yall are on Ayton and how high some of you are on Nurkic.
— Niko (@nikotaughtyou) September 22, 2023
Yeah I’m gonna pray you’re absolutely wrong about this one
— kingtisemedia (@kingtisemedia) September 22, 2023
— Isaac 🔱 (1-1)(81-68) (@mikalbridge) September 21, 2023
— B (@_Braizen) September 21, 2023
Can you just say they aren't going to trade Ayton? That way they don't make a horrible decision that will make the D worse and take some athletic abilities away from post also. Need to see what the roster as it is now can do. Book, KD, Beal and Ayton is a monster 4.
— Joseph (@motown_12) September 22, 2023
— ClutchMcGee (@RealClutchMcGee) September 21, 2023
can’t wait to have him protecting the rim 🔥 pic.twitter.com/dsi737g1rt
— LEEZUS (@AndrewLeezus) September 21, 2023
For people who think Nurkic is an upgrade over Ayton, I’ve got some Blockbuster stock to sell you.
— Matt Petersen (@TheMattPetersen) September 22, 2023
Fans have gone back-and-forth over whether they want to trade Ayton since the 2021-22 season. Now, it seems like the majority of fans feel that Vogel can get Ayton back on the right track and want the Suns to keep the former No. 1 overall pick heading into the year.
I don’t hate Jusuf Nurkic’s game I think he’s really underrated.
I just don’t wanna give up Deandre Ayton at this point. He looks so focused and energetic since his Bahamas FIBA experience. pic.twitter.com/V8oe82XSc4
— Gabe Guerrero (@GabeGuerrero03) September 22, 2023
The Suns would be making a BIG mistake if they traded Deandre Ayton…this is THE year and the big man is the X-factor
He showed out for Bahamas, stepped up as a vocal leader and a spark plug for his teammates, perfectly playing any role his team needs him to play
In 2021, he… pic.twitter.com/HyxEpD4uh9
— Vincent 🌵 (@VincentKeyes1) September 21, 2023
The complete 180 by Suns Twitter on DA getting traded is hilarious. 2 months ago y’all woulda done it for a bag of chips. Now Nurkic and Caleb Martin isn’t good enough. Some of y’all need to learn ball.
— Queen City Woj (@QueenCityWoj) September 22, 2023
Keep Ayton pic.twitter.com/pc0P9rpgLz
— LEEZUS (@AndrewLeezus) September 22, 2023
I hear a lot of people talking about the Phoenix Suns and how terrified they are of losing Deandre Ayton. I find it to be really amusing now because only a few months ago, people were only talking about trading him, and nobody seemed to bother.
— 𝐊𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐧 (@Suns_Armband) September 22, 2023
However, fans should keep in mind that this would not be a 1-for-1 swap. Nurkić is set to make $16.785 million in the 2023-24 season. Ayton is due to make nearly double that number ($32.459 million) this season.
This being said, some fans are on the other side of the trade.
Suns fans: ‘we don’t need Jusuf Nurkic, we got Deandre Ayton 😤😤’
— Shai I. Iverson (@PepeLeFewHoes) September 21, 2023
Adding Nurkic would give the Suns their fourth starting #skilledkilla, all of them ready to change narratives from fantasy basketball “analysts”. Not an athletic freak, but one who makes up for it with skill, smarts, and scrappiness. Hoops the right way. pic.twitter.com/cYrfvUtKxp
— Ball Don’t Stop (@balldontstopp) September 22, 2023
Ayton is not $17m better than Nurk… so if you can trade him for Nurk and a 3&D.. Why not?
Ayton could turn into a negative asset soon. Why would the Suns risk messing up their championship window?
— Khiz (@KhizHoop) September 22, 2023
Jusuf Nurkic is getting way too much hate for the player that he is. He's never going to be a guy that demands touches. The offense is clearly going to be heavily centered around Book,KD,and Beal. Nurkic has shown that he's not afraid to take contact and try to play defense. I'm…
— DColdest (@DColdestt) September 22, 2023
THE SUNS SHOULD TRADE DEANDRE AYTON
The time may be right to trade away the promising big man as he isn't what Phoenix needs at this moment. At this given time, Phoenix needs a better fit and it would come from Jusuf Nurkić.
While this sounds like an idiotic opinion to state,…
— Court Side Heat (@courtsideheat) September 22, 2023
Whether or not this trade happens is just a rumor, but the Suns could get a quality fifth starter in addition to Nurkić if they play their cards right.