With the start of NBA free agency just weeks away, trade speculation continues to swirl over two young Western Conference stars. Donovan Mitchell’s future with the Utah Jazz is looking more and more uncertain, and there’s a good chance that DeAndre Ayton has played his final game with the Phoenix Suns.

In the aftermath of Quin Snyder stepping down as the Jazz head coach, Mitchell is "unsettled, unnerved and wondering what it means for the franchise's future," ESPN reported Sunday. The Athletic reported that it’s more likely than not that Ayton will leave the Suns.

Ayton‘s future with the Suns is much more precarious than Mitchell’s in Utah. Ayton‘s contract is up, and he’s headed for restricted free agency in July.

Mitchell still has four years and $135 million left on his contract with a player option for the final season. Mitchell hasn't asked for a trade.

As soon as the Suns were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs, rumors of Ayton’s impending departure from Phoenix began to make headlines. It was reported that Phoenix and the Indiana Pacers had trade talks about Ayton in the middle of the season. The relationship between Ayton and Suns' head coach Monty Williams might not be very strong after the center was limited to 17 minutes in Game 7 of the conference semifinals.

Phoenix can match any offer sheet that Ayton signs in free agency. Instead of letting the 23-year-old walk for nothing, the Suns might try to sign-and-trade Ayton to another team. The Suns already have big money committed to Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Mikal Bridges.

The Detroit Pistons are viewed as a potential landing spot for Ayton. Detroit has cap space and a potential trade piece in Jerami Grant.

Mitchell will probably still be in Utah for the 2022-23 season, but the state of Utah’s roster seems to be in flux after yet another early playoff exit. The Jazz have made six straight trips to the postseason with no conference finals appearances. It certainly wouldn’t come as a shock if either Rudy Gobert or Mitchell is traded in the offseason.

Gobert is the more likely trade candidate. Utah’s center is older than Mitchell with a more expensive contract. Mitchell has averaged more than 26.0 points per game over the last two seasons, showing signs that he can be the top scorer on a championship team.

Unable to hit free agency until the summer of 2025, Mitchell wouldn’t have much leverage if he requested a trade. In recent years, however, NBA stars have been able to force trades with multiple years left on their contract.

Mitchell will be 26 years old at the start of the upcoming season.

Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns slam dunks against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half of Game Two of the Western Conference Second Round NBA Playoffs at Footprint Center on May 04, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Mavericks 129-109. Christian Petersen/Getty Images