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Blazers ‘Loosely’ Targeting Deandre Ayton?

The Suns center is a restricted free agent this summer.

NBA: Playoffs-Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, we wrote about the ideas of the Portland Trail Blazers possibly targeting Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton in free agency this summer.

Now, insiders are beginning to echo those sentiments.

On the most recent episode of The Lowe Post Podcast, Zach Lowe mentioned that the Blazers are a possible fit for Ayton.

“I think they’ll be among the teams that at least have a conversation internally about Ayton if Ayton becomes available,” Lowe said.

The Blazers could have an opening at center this offseason with Jusuf Nurkic approaching unrestricted free agency. While there’s interest in having Nurkic return, Ayton is an upgrade and could work extremely well in the pick-and-roll with Damian Lillard, much like the success Ayton’s had in Phoenix with Chris Paul.

Adding Ayton, a player who’s proven to help teams win at the biggest stage, is exactly the kind of move the Blazers need to make in order to retool. And offering Ayton enough money for the Suns to not match is a move worth considering.

While it might shake up the current configuration of the team, Ayton is a player not quite considered to be a star yet, but could blossom into that with the right situation.

There’s risk with giving someone a boatload of money despite not making any All-Star appearances and being so young. But that’s also the reward if he’s developed properly.

There’s likely a dozen or so teams that fit with signing Ayton, so the Blazers will have to be aggressive in their pursuit.