Suns, DeAndre Ayton Disagree on Max Contract Evaluation

Deandre Ayton - USA Today Sports Images

The Phoenix Suns and star center Deandre Ayton appear to be at a crossroads when it comes to an extension.

The 2018 No. 1 overall pick has no intention of accepting a deal less than the comparable max contracts signed by several of his 2018 NBA draft classmates, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. That group includes Atlanta‘s Trae YoungDallas‘ Luka DoncicOklahoma City‘s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Denver‘s Michael Porter Jr.

Ayton is eligible for a five-year, $172.5 million extension, with escalators that could reach up to $207 million.

The 23-year-old big man set career highs in 2019-20 with 18.2 points, 11.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.5 blocks per contest, but injuries limited him to a mere 38 games. Following the Suns’ acquisition of Chris Paul last offseason, Ayton saw his offensive production dip this past season to 14.4 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game. However, it’s worth noting he stayed healthy playing in 71 games while shooting a career-high 62.6 percent from the field.

In his first postseason run, Ayton averaged 15.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game for a Phoenix squad that took a dominant 2-0 series lead in the NBA Finals prior to falling to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks in six games.

Many executives leaguewide expected a deal would’ve been hammered out in short order this offseason for Ayton, given his complementary role to the backcourt of Paul and Devin Booker.

Now, with a looming Oct. 18 deadline for rookie extensions, talks between the Suns and Ayton’s representatives have been slowed by ownership’s current assertion that Ayton doesn’t deserve to be paid similar to his draft classmates, Woj notes. Yet, the belief from the 7-footer is that his performance and potential speaks for itself, and the marketplace should dictate that he does belong up there.

Only time will tell if the two sides can come to a deal prior to the October 18th deadline. If an extension cannot be reached, Ayton will become a restricted free agent next summer which could lead to a season full of storylines that has the potential to cause an unwanted distraction in the organization.

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About the Author

Shyam Ramachandran
Shyam Ramachandran is a senior in the John Curley Sports Center majoring in Sports Broadcast Journalism, at Penn State University. He is the founder and head writer of "theFanalyst" where he has written over 240 articles on various NFL/NBA topics. He most recently contributed to the Women’s Basketball beat for The Daily Collegian at Penn State and is an around the NFL writer at https://fantofannetwork.com/

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