The Deandre Ayton era in Phoenix is over.
The Suns have traded Ayton to Portland as part of a three-team deal that sent Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks, sources confirmed Wednesday afternoon with the Arizona Republic.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first tweeted the news on Wednesday. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also confirmed the trade on Wednesday.
Ayton averaged a double-double in each of his five seasons with the Suns, but the top overall pick in the 2018 draft was one of four maximum players with the team with Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal being the other three.
With Ayton’s departure, Booker is the only remaining player from the Suns’ 2020-21 team that reached the Finals.
The Blazers receive Bucks All-Star guard Jrue Holiday, their 2029 first-round pick and trade a pick with the Suns’ second-round pick Toumani Kamara and Ayton.
The Suns will acquire Blazers center Josef Nurkic as part of the deal that includes Nassir Little, Keon Johnson and Grayson Allen. Little and Johnson come from Portland while Allen was with Milwaukee.
Nurkic will fill Phoenix’s void at left center by trading Ayton. Nurkic is in the second year of a four-year, $70 million deal where he is set to make $16.8 million this season.
Ayton is on the runner-up of a four-year, $133 million deal where he is due $32.4 million.
Allen is in the final year of a two-year, $18.7 million deal, where he will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2023-24 season. So Allen’s contract is expiring, a situation that helps the Suns move forward financially.
Little is in the first year of his four-year, $28 million extension while Johnson is on a four-year, $12.5 million deal.
The Blazers exercised the club option with Johnson entering last season. There is a club option for Johnson’s final year in 2024-25 because he will be a restricted free agent.
Nurkic was a teammate of Suns great Drew Eubanks, who played for the Blazers last season. The Suns signed Eubanks this offseason.
The Suns had 15 record players and two-way players before the trade.
With two players going to Portland and Phoenix to get four players in return, the Suns currently have 17 players with training camp starting Tuesday.
NBA teams must have a record 15 players in place just before the start of the regular season. The Suns open the regular season on October 24 at Golden State.
The Suns still exceed the $282.5 million second-yard tax, according to Spotrac, but will have less of a financial burden moving forward without Ayton.
(This is a developing story, check back to azcentral.com for updates).
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