Credit: Mark J. Rebilas – USA TODAY Sports
As time ticks on, it looks like the Phoenix Suns and Deandre Ayton agreeing to a new long-term max contract is far from a sure thing.
During his four years at Phoenix, Ayton has become an important part of the organization’s present and presumably, until recently, its future. However, after the team’s disappointing ouster to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Playoff semi-finals, the Arizona-restricted free agent’s future became a little murkier.
Following the end of the 2021-22 season, reports surfaced that the starting center did not feel valued by his employer. Shortly after, the organization’s chief executive, James Jones, proclaimed his desire to keep his core group of Ayton, Devin Booker and Chris Paul together for several more years.
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Deandre Ayton was eligible for a maximum contract extension before this season. However, the Suns opted to put those conversations on hold until the end of the playing year and it appears that decision stung the University of Arizona alum.
Deandre Ayton wasn’t happy the Phoenix Suns didn’t offer him a max last summer
Ayton’s agent revealed this during a recent appearance on the SiriusXM NBA Combine show. As well as the fact that he understands the high-level value of his client and that many league teams would be interested in courting his services.
- Deandre Ayton stats (2021-22): 17.2 PPG, 10.2 REB, 1.4 AST, 0.7 BLK, 63 FG%
” We are disappointed. We wanted a max contract [via RealGM]. He came out and was a soldier all year, played well, improved his stats,” Duffy said. “So we are proud of him. A lot of guys handle things differently, but he was very mature about it…Things will work out for Deandre. He is a valuable player,” he added. “There are also other teams in the league. He’s a restricted free agent, so we’ll see how that process plays out.
As a restricted free agent, the Phoenix Suns will have the chance to match any competing offer to Ayton from another team. The question is, if another team is willing to max out the first pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, will the Suns be willing to match the numbers on that contract?