Should the Indiana Pacers monitor the Deandre Ayton situation?

Myles Turner, Deandre Ayton - Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
Myles Turner, Deandre Ayton - Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports /

Aside from the NBA Draft Lottery anticipation, there’s been little to no news around the Indiana Pacers lately. However, suffice it to say that fans have been active all over social media throughout the NBA Playoffs, especially with title favorites Phoenix Suns having their season ended abruptly in an embarrassing fashion.

After a historic season for the franchise, the Suns are suddenly slated to be on the hotseat as regards their offseason plans, encompassing among all is the free agency situation of center Deandre Ayton, who was not handed an extension before the campaign started.

It’s difficult to envision Phoenix’s brass not matching any offer sheet for Ayton in restricted free agency, but another team tendering a max offer or something near that could inhibit the Suns from fully committing. In fact, after their perplexing defeat at the hands of Dallas, head coach Monty Williams hinted at an internal issue between the two parties, making a hazy situation even bleaker.

Is the Deandre Ayton free agency situation worth monitoring for the Indiana Pacers?

As said repeatedly before, the Indiana Pacers will be major players in free agency, owing to their considerable cap space. Thus, they could pry into the Deandre Ayton sweepstakes if they want to, but will venturing near max contract territory for him make sense for them?

Right now, the short answer is no. The entire draft affair is still pending, but the Pacers have all the resources to bolster their roster without sacrificing their financial flexibility. Ayton is a great young piece who can be a franchise cornerstone, but approaching him with a max offer or anything near that is an overestimation at this point.

However, should Indiana miss out on a big man in the draft and are left with an uninspiring crop of free agent bigs, they could viably make a run at Ayton. They could extend an offer sheet outright, but something that could entice Phoenix even more is by proposing a sign-and-trade that would give the Suns some great consolation (ahem, Myles Turner).

If I’m the Pacers front office, I’m not gonna feel comfortable being the most enthusiastic team about handing Ayton a max offer sheet, but given the right circumstances, as well as the right audacity to relatively overspend, pursuing the former first overall pick could be a gamble that could pay dividends later on, though the prospect of it backfiring is certainly out of the woods.

Nevertheless, the Indiana Pacers have to approach free agency with guarded curiosity and apt patience. Having a boatload of money to spend is thrilling, but the team should make it a point to let the course run itself instead of instigating it right from the get go, which is arguably the best way to approach the intriguing Deandre Ayton front.

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