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BREAKING: Phoenix Suns trade away Deandre Ayton

The Phoenix Suns have traded away Deandre Ayton and rookie Toumani Camara to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Jusuf Nurkić, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little and Keon Johnson, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. This is part of a bigger trade in which Damian Lillard went to the Bucks.

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After years of rumors, Ayton, a homegrown player, has finally left Phoenix. Devin Booker is now the only Suns’ player left from the team’s 2021 Finals run.

Ayton averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds in 67 games played and started last season for the Suns while shooting 59% from the floor.

Phoenix brings in Nurkić to replace him at the center position after almost a week of rumors that the team would do so.

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 was traded to Portland in the 2016-17 season from Denver. The Bulls selected him with the 16th overall pick in 2014, but he has only played for the Nuggets and Blazers.

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 last season.

As for Camara, the Suns selected him with the 52nd overall pick in this year’s draft. He was good in the Summer League, and fans were excited of what he could bring to the table. However, he would have had no spot on the team with this trade being made because of the other players Phoenix brought in.

The Other Returns

The other three players: Grayson Allen, Nassir Little and Keon Johnson bring wing depth and defense to the Suns.

Allen is the most questionable return here, giving the Suns a player most fans don’t like. He is best known for his antics at Duke, but could take on the fifth starter role for the Suns, as he has shown he is capable.

Allen started 70 of 72 games played during the regular season last year in Milwaukee, averaging 10.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting 39.9% from deep and 44% overall. The 6-foot-4 guard is in the prime years of his career, as he is about turn 28 in a couple weeks. After being drafted 21st overall, he spent his first season (2018-19) in the NBA in Utah. Then he went to Memphis for two years and finally played for the Bucks the last two years. Allen brings the experience and defense needed to be the fifth starter for the Suns.

Little has spent all four of his years in Portland with the Blazers after being selected 25th overall in 2019. Him and Allen bring a Duke – North Carolina rivalry to Phoenix, as Little played for the Tar Heels in college.

Little averaged a career-high 9.8 points in the 2021-22 season. However, he saw his average drop to 6.6 points last season. The 6-foot-5 guard/forward is only 23 years old and has a lot of untapped potential. He could develop into a key wing piece for Phoenix. He will compete for minutes with the likes of Allen, Josh Okogie, Keita Bates-Diop, Yuta Watanabe and Ish Wainright.

Johnson is also another young player with potential to unlock, as he is only 21 years old. The Tennessee product was drafted 21st overall in 2021. He played half of a season with the Los Angeles Clippers before being traded to Portland and playing the last 1.5 seasons with the Blazers.

The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 4.7 points in 40 games last season. He will battle for a spot on the team in the coming weeks.

This trade gives the Suns 17 players under contract, so the team will have to fight it out for the 15-allowed roster spots in training camp.

Phoenix Suns fans experience a mix of emotions following Deandre Ayton’s trade

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Brendan Mau is a senior writer covering the Phoenix Suns and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

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