The Trail Blazers are no longer viewed as a suitor for restricted free agent Deandre Ayton, sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. According to Fischer, Portland plans to re-sign starting center Jusuf Nurkic, who is an unrestricted free agent, and hopes to acquire Raptors forward OG Anunoby in exchange for a package headlined by the No. 7 overall pick of the 2022 draft.
However, Anunoby might not be the only target for the Blazers. It’s been rumored that the Thunder are trying to move up in the lottery, and Fischer reports that “there has been increasing talk” about Portland sending the No. 7 pick to OKC in exchange for No. 12 and a “package that could include” Luguentz Dort.
The three most realistic landing spots for Ayton, aside from re-signing with the Suns, appear to be the Hawks, Pistons and Raptors, says Fischer, adding that all three clubs have interesting pieces to dangle in a possible sign-and-trade for the center.
Echoing a report from Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, Fischer states that the Pacers could also be a possibility for Ayton in a sign-and-trade deal involving Myles Turner. The two players are both represented by agent Bill Duffy, Fischer notes (hat tip to RealGM).
According to Fischer, Shaedon Sharpe may be a candidate to fall in the lottery after a series of underwhelming workouts ahead of the draft. Fischer says Sharpe’s range might begin at No. 8, but he could also be a target of teams who try to acquire the No. 7 pick from Portland. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported yesterday that the Thunder are high on Sharpe.
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