NBA Rumor: Deandre Ayton Suspension

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Kelly Oubre Jr. has been watching. So have Frank Kaminsky, Mikal Bridges and Devin Booker. The Phoenix Suns have seen up close and personal Deandre Ayton go through his 25-game suspension in a fashion that makes them very optimistic about his return. “He’s been working his ass off while he’s been out,” Oubre said. “I’ve been seeing growth firsthand, and I’m just excited for him to get back in the rhythm of being back.” Ayton hasn’t played since the season opener Phoenix won by 29 points back on Oct. 23. “He’s got a lot of frustration and energy pent up that I know he’s ready to let go,” Kaminsky said.

It has been nearly a week since Suns center Deandre Ayton was handed a 25-game suspension by the league for, according to an NBA statement, violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program by testing positive for a diuretic.” Ayton has planned all along to fight the suspension and he’ll finally get the chance by the end of this week. According to a league source, Ayton’s camp and the players union expects to meet with the NBA to present its case for a reduction of the suspension by the end of the week.

Adrian Wojnarowski: Deandre Ayton statement: “I want to apologize to my family, the entire Suns organization, my teammates, partners, our fans and the Phoenix community. This was an unintentional mistake and unfortunately I put something in my body that I was completely unaware of. I do understand the unfortunate impact that this has on so many others, and for that I am deeply sorry. I’m extremely disappointed that I’ve let my team down. I will continue to work with the NBPA to go through arbitration and am hopeful of a positive resolution.”
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June 25, 2022 | 6:51 am EDT Update

Teams already preparing in case Kevin Durant becomes available?

But whatever the case, teams are reportedly making preparations for the Nets star potentially being available in the coming days. That’s according to ESPN insider Zach Lowe on a post-NBA draft episode of his Lowe Post podcast: “I can tell you this. This is what teams are doing. Teams are already operating under, not the assumption, but ‘we need to prepare for the contingency that Kevin Durant is available via trade in six days or seven days.’ … The whole league is now.”
Rumors have it that if Irving ends up leaving the Nets, Durant could also ask out. For Windhorst, trying to trade for KD after the Irving situation blew up would be something the Heat could do. “The godfather move is not to trade for Kyrie Irving. The godfather move is to let the Kyrie Irving situation to blow up and then wait for Kevin Durant to say he wants out of there. That’s the Miami Heat move,” Windhorst said on ESPN’s Get Up.

Kyrie Irving x Nets situation 'getting acrimonious'

Woj also said that while Irving has given the Nets six NBA destinations he’d prefer if there’s no agreement, there is limited interest in him at max money. The ESPN insider said the only team with any real interest is the Lakers. Still, he argued, getting Irving a contract paying more than $6.3 million — the taxpayers MLE — seems unlikely. “This is getting acrimonious,” Woj told a panel on ESPN’s NBA analysts. “and I think that’s the concern when you look at not only Kyrie’s future in Brooklyn, but also Kevin Durant’s future and whether they can hold this thing together.”
Woj also was clear that with some of Irving’s six landing spots, not all of them reciprocate. “The interest isn’t mutual in several of these places,” Woj said. “Obviously the Lakers are the ones that loom. And will Kyrie Irving walk away from a $36.9 million player option that he can opt into and have that money guaranteed, especially after a year where he lost about $17 million by not being vaccinated last year and untold more with a sneaker deal that isn’t going to be there anymore, certainly at the level it was.”
Several teams have already been linked to a potential swoop on Kyrie if his contract negotiations with the Nets continue to deteriorate. Be that as it may, NBA analyst Chris Broussard believes that Irving’s options aren’t actually as vast as some might think: “Half of these teams don’t even want Kyrie,” Broussard said on First Things First. “I was texting with someone that works for one of these teams yesterday, ‘You want Kyrie?’ ‘No!’ It was the fastest return text I’ve ever got. And then, ‘What do you think of his wish list?’ ‘Tomfoolery & wishful thinking.’ That was the answer.”