ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that talks have stalled between C DeAndre Ayton and the Suns on a contract extension, as the Suns have been reluctant to offer him a max contract.
The former #1 overall pick out of Arizona was a crucial part of the Suns’ title run this past season. They lost the finals to the Bucks in 6 games. Ayton had a great playoff run, with 15.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. He was also incredibly efficient shooting 65% from the field.
He excelled especially in the Western Conference Finals, in which he averaged 17.6 points and 13.7 rebounds (4.5 offensive rebounds) on 69% shooting.
Ayton is could get a five-year, $172.5 million extension, with extra bonuses that could reach $207 million — a deal that many executives league-wide expected would be a done deal right at the beginning of the offseason. However, the reluctance from the Suns is unexpected, especially after he has done so much for the team.
Just yesterday, Ayton’s teammate and fellow member of the 2018 draft class Mikal Bridges signed a 4-year $90 million extension. This can be taken in multiple ways, but it must be noted that the Suns are committed to extending their young core.
If Ayton and the Suns were to agree on a maximum extension, Ayton would join Michel Porter Jr, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Trae Young, and Luka Doncic as players from the 2018 draft class to receive maximum extensions.
The Suns hope to replicate their results from last year in the 2021-2022 season. The Suns reached the finals and have been able to add extra rotational depth with the likes of Landry Shamet, JaVale McGee, Elfrid Payton, and Chandler Hutchison.
However, it seems unlikely that Ayton leaves the Suns for the time being. Kellen Olson tweeted the following:
Ayton’s preparedness for training camp signifies his hope of returning to the roster, and that it is likely that a deal will be done before the rookie extension deadline. While it may not be the deal both sides desire, it is a deal, which both sides should be thankful for.