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Suns Buzz Starting to Pick Up in Lillard Trade Rumors

Could Deandre Ayton get involved in this mess somehow?

2023 NBA Playoffs - Phoenix Suns v Denver Nuggets Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

After the 92nd spin of the summer, the Damian Lillard trade roulette wheel has ended up on the Phoenix Suns. Rumors began surfacing late this afternoon that Phoenix may be involved in potential Lillard trade scenarios, not directly, but as a facilitator.

The buzz began with Arizona sports radio personality John Gambadoro, who was ahead of the curve on the Kevin Durant-to-Phoenix deal last year. Gambadoro tweeted that, in the wake of any potential Lillard trade, Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic might be available. He speculated that Phoenix might value Nurkic above their current center, Deandre Ayton, and further than Portland might like a younger player at center themselves.

The full text of the tweets reads:

Let me address some of the Deandre Ayton rumors. The Suns have not been willing to move DA all summer because they think he fits well and there were no offers that would change that. If Nurkic was on the table I would be surprised if the Suns didn’t look into it because an argument could be made that is an upgrade for Phx. This would be contingent on Dame being moved. Portland has previously shown no interest in DA but that was with Dame staying. If they do not have Dame on the roster they could very well want a young 25-year old to build around. Vogel needs a defensive minded Center to build his defense around and Nurkic does fit that mold. This would be contingent on a Lillard trade and I expect do expect that to happen very very soon. Ok a serviceable defensive Center. He was actually good defensively before Chauncey took over. I still think he is above average. He is big but does not move as well after the leg injury. Has been a good rebounder. Can set screens and pass has some skill.

Though a later story at made clear that Gambadoro was suggesting that the exchange would work for both teams rather than quoting sources, momentum took on a life of its own. Gerald Bourguet of posted an article suggesting that sources have indicated that the Suns could be a participant in upcoming deals:

While the Suns lack the assets and/or contracts to trade for Lillard or Harden themselves, one source referred to the Suns as a “mystery team” in regards to their potential involvement. Another called them a “dark horse” to help facilitate a deal as an additional party.

Talks are heating up around the league with teams like Portland, Miami, Philadelphia, Chicago and Toronto all very active right now. The Suns could be the mystery team needed to get some of these deals done per my conversations. With camp weeks away, things could get interesting!

To top it all off, Gambadoro added a tweet that said a deal could be happening very soon.

This may be an example of a phenomenon a Blazer’s Edge writer critiqued earlier today, but such is the Damian Lillard news circus right now. Stay tuned.