Restricted free agent this summer, Deandre Ayton reached an agreement with the Pacers on Thursday to sign a 4-year contract, at most. The Suns, who repeatedly refused to extend it, had 48 hours to match the offer and retain the pivot. To everyone’s surprise, the front office decided to accept, and without delay. Blow to Indiana.
Rather excellent for his first years in the NBA, Deandre Ayton was not unanimous among the Suns. The franchise refused to extend his rookie contract to him last year, like Luka Doncic and company, for lack of a financial agreement. First choice of his draft in front of the Slovenian, Ayton logically wanted the maximum, which the front office refused. Why ? Because some people in Phoenix believe that another pivot, for less money, would be able to have a similar contribution to the racket.
Surprise outcome for Deandre Ayton!
Failing to extend his contract last summer, Ayton was therefore a restricted free agent from July 1. As a reminder, that means he can sign with another team, but the Suns have 48 hours to match the offer and keep the player. This is precisely what has just happened this Thursday evening. As Adrian Wojnarowski points out, Deandre signed with the Pacers for a record fee, but the Suns decided to line up. They therefore keep the star for 4 more years, according to Shams Charania.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 15, 2022
The Phoenix Suns have matched the Indiana Pacers’ 4-year-old, 133 million offer for Deandre Ayton. Ayton remains in Phoenix.
So why is it so unexpected? Because the Suns never wanted to offer such a contract to Ayton from the start. They could have signed him when the market opened, but the leaders preferred to wait, not without damaging their relationship with the player. We can think that as soon as he has the opportunity, the pivot will not be against the idea of leaving Arizona quickly. At least Phoenix doesn’t lose their player for nothing, but the decision raises questions.
Additionally, Charania clarifies that Phoenix matched the offer as soon as it was received at the front office. No hesitation for the latter, who wanted to keep the player, but then why such an approach on the market? Or last summer? No one knows. Not only are the Suns plunging into the tax, since they will have to pay 15 million, but Ayton cannot be traded before next January 15. Bonus ? He has a right of veto for a full year.
As soon as the Suns received the four-year, $133M offer sheet, the franchise matched it. Deandre Ayton returns to Phoenix and can’t be traded without his consent for a full year. https://t.co/dBXGN3qbCK
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 15, 2022
As soon as the Suns received the offer of 133 million over 4 years, the franchise decided to match it. Deandre Ayton returns to Phoenix and cannot be traded without his consent for a full year.
Doubtful attitude for the Suns, who certainly retain Deandre Ayton, but by damaging their relationship with him. We imagine that there will be a trade during the season or the next, but this behavior raises questions. Bad publicity within the league.