Is a DeAndre Ayton for Domantas Sabonis swap a win-win for Pacers and Suns?

Is a DeAndre Ayton for Domantas Sabonis swap a win-win for Pacers and Suns?

As the Indiana Pacers publically announced they are willing to listen to offers for every player on the roster, is a swap between Phoenix Suns’ DeAndre Ayton and Domantas Sabonis a win-win situation for both teams? 

The Pacers are leaning towards a rebuild

Things did not turn out as expected for the Indiana Pacers this season, and the only logical next step for the franchise is to hit the reset button. Indiana is sitting outside the playoff picture at 12-17, good for 13th place, and there’s little optimism that the Pacers can make a deep playoff run. 

Indiana has several assets such as Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner, who they can flip into good draft picks. This year, there are struggling contenders who might use the free-agent market that is set to open on December 15 for potential deals. There are also those teams who are willing to trade the future to win now. 

Among those teams that need an upgrade on the front-court rotation are Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, and Los Angeles Lakers. However, a more intriguing deal is a potential swap of Sabonis and DeAndre Ayton. Moreover, the Suns have reportedly expressed interest in the deal, per Basketball News

Why Sabonis-Ayton deal could work

Ayton was instrumental in helping the Phoenix Suns reach the Finals last year. The young center thought he did enough to convince the front office to give him an extension, but he was wrong. Today, disgruntled superstars force their way out of their mother ball clubs, but DeAndre chose to be professional and do the work without making it an issue. 

A closer look at the numbers of Sabonis and Ayton tells us both big men’s skills set are not that different from one another. DeAndre is averaging 16.3 points and 11.1 rebounds, while Domantas is averaging 18.6 points and 11.9 rebounds. If the deal pushes through, the Suns would get a 2-time All-Star, a willing passer, and a big with a smooth outside touch.

Sabonis once connected on 52.9% of his shots from the rainbow country a few seasons ago. Meanwhile, Indiana would get a hardworking center whose ceiling is still wide open. Ayton could form a 1-2 combo with Myles Turner or serve as a franchise cornerstone if the front office decides to trade away both Turner and Sabonis. 

Ayton would get the money he wants and deserves in Indiana. Currently, Malcolm Brogdon is the highest-paid Pacer with a $21.7 million salary this year, followed by Sabonis, Turner, and Caris LeVert. On the other hand, Sabonis would fit nicely with Chris Paul and Devin Booker in a fast-paced, high-octane offense under coach Monty Williams. It’s clearly a win-win situation for both teams.