The chatter surrounding the Portland Trail Blazers and their interest in restricted free agent Deandre Ayton from the disgruntled Phoenix Suns has been in the NBA for weeks.
Former Memphis Grizzlies executive John Hollinger highlighted the Trail Blazers’ potential to trade unrestricted free agent Jusuf Nurkic with free agent Ayton on the Hollinger & Duncan podcast.
The discussion with Nate Duncan revolves around what the Blazers can offer to keep the Suns happy. However, both pointed to potential dual signs and hurdles the deal could face.
Hollinger: The idea of Ayton Nurkic signing and trading is really interesting.
Duncan: Including the No. 7 pick?
Hollinger: You can’t really do that, it’s going to take free agency to a whole new level
Duncan: So Phoenix has to get something back, like Nasir Little or something like that.
Hollinger: It almost has to be, yes.
Duncan: This capping mechanic is difficult. Well, Portland has an exception to this $20 million deal, but it’s not enough to do what Ayton wants.
Hollinger: I do think Portland will trade the seventh pick for a player or try to do that, but I also think they’ll be a player for Ayton as well. So for Ayton to sign and trade, it almost has to be Nurkic. Most importantly, it could cost them Josh Hart. That gets tricky because Portland owes a future No. 1, which may not be possible.
You can listen to the discussion here in 33 minutes.