NBA Trade Rumors: Deandre Ayton, Myles Turner on Raptors' Radar Ahead of Deadline

Erin WalshJanuary 17, 2023

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - JANUARY 16: Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum on January 16, 2023 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Justin Ford/Getty Images

The Toronto Raptors are looking to make some additions ahead of the NBA's Feb. 9 trade deadline, and the team appears to be targeting two of the league's most talented centers.

Phoenix Suns big man Deandre Ayton and Indiana Pacers star Myles Turner are among the centers "on Toronto's radar," according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

The Raptors have been searching for a new frontcourt partner for Pascal Siakam since Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka departed the franchise after the 2019-20 campaign.

Toronto moved Siakam to center this season after he spent the first six years of his career at power forward, and it has done anything but help the Raptors remain competitive in the Eastern Conference.

With Siakam starting at the 5, the Raptors have been forced to use an ineffective small-ball lineup of Siakam, Scottie Barnes, O.G. Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr. and Fred VanVleet. That lineup has struggled, and Toronto sits 11th in the East with a 20-24 record.

That said, the Raptors aren't far out of a play-in spot, and adding a true starting center could help the team turn around what has been a disappointing season.

Ayton's relationship with the Suns has been unsteady since the franchise failed to offer him a long-term extension. In July, the Pacers extended a four-year, $133 million maximum offer sheet to Ayton, and the Suns matched that offer to keep him in Phoenix.

The Arizona product didn't become eligible to be traded until Jan. 15, and he also has a one-year no-trade clause that will allow him to block any move, meaning that he could prevent a move to Toronto.

Before that, though, the Suns shopped Ayton on the trade market, so it wouldn't be surprising to see them do so again this season with the team sitting 12th in the Western Conference with a 21-24 record.

Ayton, 24, has spent his entire five-year career in Phoenix. Although the Suns are struggling this year, he's having a respectable season, averaging 17.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting 58.4 percent from the floor.

Turner, meanwhile, has long been included in trade rumors and is set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. The 26-year-old, who has spent his entire eight-year career in Indiana, is having the best season of his career, averaging 17.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 2.3 blocks per game while shooting 55.6 percent from the floor.

In addition to Ayton and Turner, the Raptors have also been linked to San Antonio Spurs big man Jakob Poeltl, who spent the first two seasons of his career in Toronto.