The Detroit Pistons’ biggest competition for Deandre Ayton

Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns reacts to a foul call during the second half of the NBA game against the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns reacts to a foul call during the second half of the NBA game against the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Pistons
Deandre Ayton #22 and Cameron Johnson #23 of the Phoenix Suns block out Alex Len #27 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

One of the biggest rumors surrounding the Detroit Pistons this offseason is that they will pursue Suns’ restricted free-agent center Deandre Ayton. The Pistons would have the option of signing him outright if the Suns aren’t interested in retaining him or

completing a sign-and-trade with Phoenix

, which would cost Detroit assets as well as money. The Suns will likely have the most say of where Ayton goes (other than Ayton himself) as they can offer him more years and money in free agency or match any offer sheet he gets from another team. If Phoenix wants to offer Ayton the full max, which is what he is reportedly seeking, then it makes sense for him to stay put on a team that is coming off a Finals appearance and the best record in the NBA in consecutive years. The Detroit Pistons will be one of the teams with cap space this summer and have a need a center, so it makes sense that they would

go after Ayton.

Related Story. Who the experts think the Pistons will take in the draft. light

But the Detroit Pistons won’t be the only team interested in the 23-year-old center if he does in fact hit the market. Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report recently listed a few other teams who might be in on the Ayton bonanza on an episode of the

Dunc’d On Podcast.

In addition to Detroit, Fischer mentioned Portland, Toronto and San Antonio as possible suitors for Ayton. Which one is the biggest competition for the Detroit Pistons?

Detroit Pistons: Competition for Deandre Ayton

The Detroit Pistons, Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs all have enough projected cap space to go after Ayton, while Toronto might offer the best fit. So who is most likely to get Ayton if he leaves the Suns?

Toronto Raptors

Projected cap space: None Ayton’s fit: Perfect Of all of these teams, the Raptors are probably the closest to being contenders, as they made the playoffs this season and have a strong roster with guys like Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes, OG Anunoby and Fred VanVleet. They are also in need of a center, as Chris Boucher is set to be a free agent and they don’t really have a backup plan. Ayton would slide into that starting five quite nicely and instantly make the Raptors a team to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference. But how are they going to afford him? The Raptors would likely have to make a series of moves to clear space for Ayton, though there is a chance that they could offer up OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr. or one of their other young talents in a sign-and-trade. Though Ayton is a good fit there, it’s hard to see how the Raptors fit him in without breaking up their core. However, Brooks may have made Anunoby somewhat redundant and OG would be nice get for the Suns if they know they are going to lose Ayton anyway.