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Deandre Ayton Posts Message to Suns and Blazers Fans

A day after being traded from Phoenix to Portland, Deandre Ayton has posted a message to social media.

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Ayton: “Phoenix, Grateful for the journey…for the people who supported me, cheered me on, challenged me & helped me grow. To the fans, teammates, coaches, staff, thank you. All love for the valley

Portland, LETS GO! Ready for the next chapter…excited to be a Trailblazer #RipCity”

No Suns player or front office member (James Jones or Mat Ishbia) have put out a statement about Ayton yet.

The Suns 52nd overall pick from this year, Toumani Camara, another piece of the trade heading to Portland, released a statement earlier today.

Here are the full trade details:

  • Bucks Receive: Damian Lillard
  • Blazers Receive: Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, 2029 1st round pick via Bucks and two pick swaps with the Bucks
  • Suns Receive: Jusuf Nurkic, Nassir Little, Keon Johnson and Grayson Allen

The Suns posted a video tribute to Ayton yesterday (see below), as well as a photo goodbye to Toumani Camara.

Phoenix Suns Say Goodbye to Deandre Ayton and Toumani Camara

From the above article:

Deandre Ayton

Back in high school, Ayton moved from the Bahamas to California and eventually to Hillcrest Prep in the Valley, where he became arguably the top high school player.

He then spent one year of college at Arizona, where he was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year in his lone year.

The Suns then decide  to take the homegrown kid No. 1 overall in 2018, but it just did not pan out the way everyone wanted.

Ayton brought a lot of ups and downs to the Suns. He helped the Suns reach the 2021 NBA Finals. During the run had one of the best plays in team history now know as the “Valley Oop.”

Some other memorable moments from early in Ayton’s career include his All-Rookie team selection in the 2018-19 season. He then was suspended for the first 25 games of the 2019 season after testing positive for a diuretic. Ayton was also a big part of the Suns’ undefeated bubble run. Many many thought the Suns would have made the playoffs that year if he wasn’t suspended early on.

However, there were too many moments where Ayton looked out of place and not locked into the game. He signed a massive four-year, $133 million offer sheet last offseason with the Indiana Pacers, which the Suns ended up matching.

Ayton’s inconsistent play had fans calling for a trade of the big man for a while, but more so than ever after a rough end to the 2022-23 season. This was highlighted by Ayton getting benched during the team’s last playoff series against the Nuggets.

However, many had their confidence in Ayton restored when Frank Vogel was hired as the Suns’ head coach. That will not end up happening, as Vogel will now have to develop Jusuf Nurkić instead.

All in all, Ayton played in 303 total regular season games for Phoenix, starting 296 of them. He average 16.7 points, 10.4 rebounds and one block on 59.7% shooting across his five seasons in the Valley.

Toumani Camara

The Suns selected the 6-foot-8, 23-year-old Dayton product with the 52nd overall pick in this year’s draft.

In his four collegiate seasons, first at Georgia then at Dayton, Camara averaged 11 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.8 BPG on 51/31/63 splits. He was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Conference first team his senior year, as well as to the Atlantic 10 All-Conference defensive team.

Camara was a standout on the Suns’ Summer League team in July. Suns fans were excited to see how Camara did with the team after his Summer League performance.

That will no longer be the case. Camara now goes into a better situation for him to earn minutes early on.

It could be considered disappointing that the Suns give up their only draft pick for a while, but Phoenix now has two young wings in Nassir Little and Keon Johnson.

New Suns Players React to Being Traded to Phoenix

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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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