The Indiana Pacers are reportedly "very close" to acquiring Phoenix Suns starting center and former No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton either in a trade or through restricted free agency, ESPN's Brian Windhorst reports.
"We believe that the Indiana Pacers are very close to giving Deandre Ayton an offer sheet or executing a sign-and-trade," Windhorst said while appearing on ESPN's Get Up Monday morning.
Windhorst said the Pacers' recent moves -- which included trading Malcolm Brogdon to the Boston Celtics -- "has opened enough cap space to almost give Deandre Ayton the max contract he is looking for" as part of a sign-and-trade deal with the Suns.
"We could see something with the Pacers and Ayton as early as today," Windhorst added. "The whole league is waiting to see."
The Pacers have remained one of the most consistent teams pursuing Ayton, one of the league's best young centers, after he failed to come to terms on an extension with the Suns last October and is currently a restricted free agent.
Ayton's agent, Bill Duffy, was present during the Pacers' Summer League game against the Charlotte Hornets last Friday (July 8).
"The Indiana Pacers have probably shown of the teams outside of Phoenix, the Indiana Pacers have shown a lot of interest in Deandre Ayton this offseason," Windhorst said.
The Suns, as Ayton's last team prior to free agency, can offer more than any team (four years, $136 million, five years, $171 million.)
Phoenix would also have two days to match another NBA team's offer sheet of up to the max of four years, $131 million as part of Ayton's restricted free agency.
The former University of Arizona standout was selected No. 1 overall in the 2018 NBA Draft and has averaged a double-double during his first four NBA seasons, which included averaging 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game during the 2021-22 season.