The Minnesota Timberwolves have popped up in a number of rumors for centers. The Timberwolves think they could use a defensive upgrade at the position next to Karl-Anthony Towns, whose offensive versatility would allow him to play power forward effectively. Could Deandre Ayton be an option for Minnesota? ESPN's Brian Windhorst seems to think so and calls them a “team to watch.”
In addition to the Timberwolves, Windhorst names the Indiana Pacers as a team to keep an eye on for Ayton, who seems destined to leave the Phoenix Suns. The Suns don't want to pay Ayton a max deal, and there are reportedly some issues there with head coach Monty Williams and star point guard Chris Paul.
Phoenix could still match any offer sheet for Ayton, but signs are pointing to a sign-and-trade being worked out. The Detroit Pistons were once seen as a top suitor, but that doesn't seem to be the case anymore after their big moves on draft night. The Atlanta Hawks would be intriguing after trading for Dejounte Murray, but it's unclear if they're serious about going after Ayton and there would be some salary cap concerns.
As of right now, there doesn't appear to be a leader in the clubhouse for Ayton's services. Perhaps the Timberwolves can work something out for the big man, who's one of the best young centers in the NBA at just 23 years old. While there are some red flags with Ayton, especially given past transgressions along with issues with Williams and Paul, he's still ridiculously talented with room to grow.
A frontcourt of Towns and Ayton would be quite formidable as Minnesota tries to navigate its way up the Western Conference ranks. The Timberwolves took an impressive step this past season with their young core, and adding Ayton to it would me quite the splash this summer.