Deandre Ayton, who was acquired by Portland in this week’s blockbuster Damian Lillard trade, was unable to contain his excitement about joining the Trail Blazers in a video released by the club on Friday.
The former No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft was acquired by Portland, along with Toumani Camara from the Suns and Jrue Holiday from the Bucks, as major pieces in the deal as the club looks to build a contending roster in the Western Conference without Lillard for the first time in a decade.
Ayton, who averaged 18.0 points and 10.0 rebounds last season, was joined by Camara to tour the team’s facility for the first time, an experience that the Blazers captured on video.
“This is so wonderful. I feel like I just got drafted,” said an enthusiastic Ayton. “I’m so glad to be here. This is lit. I am ready."
The 25-year-old center told fans of his new team that he feels blessed and appreciative of the new start in Portland.
“What up, RIP City? It’s DA. aka ‘Dominayton.’ Super glad to be here, super honored,” Ayton added. “I can’t wait to get this thing started with you guys. Let’s get it.”
some new faces in the building! 🤩 pic.twitter.com/WGdj65B982— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) September 29, 2023
The club’s video comes on the heels of Ayton’s social media post on Thursday night where he thanked the Phoenix fans, teammates and coaches.
“Phoenix, Grateful for the journey…for the people who supported me, cheered me on, challenged me & helped me grow,” he wrote. “To the fans, teammates, coaches, staff, thank you. All love for the valley💜🧡 Portland, LETS GO! Ready for the next chapter…excited to be a Trailblazer #RipCity.”
Phoenix,— Deandre Ayton (@DeandreAyton) September 29, 2023
Grateful for the journey…for the people who supported me, cheered me on, challenged me & helped me grow. To the fans, teammates, coaches, staff, thank you. All love for the valley💜🧡
LETS GO! Ready for the next chapter…excited to be a Trailblazer #RipCity pic.twitter.com/XILcPReD7U