Deandre Ayton trade inquired about by Kings before draft

Report: Kings have inquired about potential Ayton trade originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Kings could be in play to make a big splash in free agency, with an unexpected star potentially available for a team looking for the right pieces to help end their 16-season playoff drought.

Deandre Ayton could be in those plans.

The Athletic reported on Wednesday that Sacramento has inquired with the Phoenix Suns about a potential sign-and-trade for the big man, who went from being viewed as a key piece of the Suns’ future to a question mark after the Suns were blown out in Game 7 of the second round of the playoffs by the Dallas Mavericks.

Ayton, the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft in 2018, averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds in his fourth season in the league. But he was ineffective in the Suns’ most important game of the season, with just five points in 17 minutes in Game 7.

Ayton, 23, would instantly provide the Kings with a complement to De’Aaron Fox and another big man to play alongside Domantas Sabonis.

But, since Ayton is a restricted free agent, the Suns would be able to match any offer that Ayton signs with another team. If the Suns wished to part with him, they might want to pursue a sign-and-trade to get back some value.

The Kings could include Harrison Barnes and the fourth pick in the NBA Draft in a potential sign-and-trade, The Athletic reported, though they wouldn’t be able to complete that trade until the beginning of free agency.

Related: Brown explains confidence in his ability to turn Kings around

The Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks have also shown interest in acquiring Ayton, according to The Athletic.

Another caveat is that Ayton would have to sign on to being moved to Sacramento, and the Suns would have to be willing to move one of their star players to another team in the division.

All things considered, the road for the Kings to potentially acquire the star center appears long – but their inclusion in the rumor mill indicates they want to be in the mix this free agency.