The Durant-Ayton speculation is moving so fast we need a time machine


Let’s step back into the future with the Phoenix Suns and Deandre Ayton to look at the present — specifically Thursday, July 14, 2022 — as if it were the past.


It will either be a 1.21 gigawatt reshuffle of the entire NBA championship landscape or the most overhyped, mundane free agency imaginable.

We don’t have to go far, just for the All-Star Game, February 19, 2023. There are many ways the day could turn out, and it all starts with a bunch of GMs arguing over a period of 23 years. -former center whose future looks much brighter than its past.

May 15, 2022;  Phoenix, Arizona, USA;  Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) is trodden by Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith (10) during Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals at the Footprint Center.

Back to the Future: Part 1

Suns general manager James Jones and his Brooklyn counterpart Sean Marks want to make a deal.

Marks wants to send out a disgruntled Kevin Durant, but the Nets front office doesn’t want to build around a center. They want a young star who plays on the perimeter.

That means they have to strike a three-team deal – at a minimum.

Maybe Jones and Marks can talk on the phone with Utah honcho Danny Ainge? (Jerry Colangelo can arrange the call. Marks and Ainge used to work for him. Jones runs the old MC franchise)

That would send Donovan Mitchell from Utah to Brooklyn.

Ayton would go to Utah.

Durant would come to Phoenix.

There would be draft picks and other players involved to make the salary calculation work.

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) defends against Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, April 8, 2022 in Salt Lake City.  (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

But if that’s how it goes, Phoenix is ​​in first place at the All-Star break. Durant and Chris Paul are coasting, leaving Devin Booker to get most of the shots. They are biding their time before the playoffs. All they want is a showdown with Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors.

Ayton, meanwhile, made his first All-Star team, playing for a Utah franchise that has a legacy of memorable big men, from Mark Eaton to Rudy Gobert, but none with Ayton’s offensive firepower. .