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Phoenix Suns and Deandre Ayton rift grows as agent sites ‘disappointment’ in not receiving a max contract offer

Jason Burgos
phoenix suns, deandre ayton
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

As more time passes, it seems that the Phoenix Suns and Deandre Ayton agreeing to a new long-term max contract is far from a sure thing.

Over his four-year run in Phoenix, Ayton has become a major part of the organization’s present and presumably, until recently, their future. However, after the team’s disappointing ouster to the Dallas Mavericks in the semifinals of the NBA Playoffs, the restricted free agent’s future in Arizona has gotten a bit cloudier.

Following the end of the 2021-2022 season, reports came out that the starting center wasn’t feeling valued by his employer. Not long after that, the organization’s general manager James Jones proclaimed their desire to keep their core of Ayton, Devin Booker, and Chris Paul together for several more years.

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Deandre Ayton was eligible for a max-contract extension heading into this season. However, the Suns chose to hold off on those conversations until after the year of play and it seems that decision stung the Arizona University alum.

Deandre Ayton was not happy the Phoenix Suns didn’t offer him a max deal last summer

phoenix suns, deandre ayton
Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Ayton’s agent revealed as much during a recent appearance on the SiriusXM NBA Combine show. As well as the fact that he understands the high-level value his client has and that there would be many teams around the league interested in courting his services.

  • Deandre Ayton stats (2021-2022): 17.2 PPG, 10.2 REB, 1.4 AST, 0.7 BLK, 63 FG%

“We’re disappointed. We wanted a max contract [via RealGM]. He went out and was a soldier the whole year, played well, improved his statistics,” Duffy said. “So, we’re proud of him. A lot of guys handle things differently, but he was very mature about it … Things will work out for Deandre. He’s a valuable player,” he added. “There’s other teams in the league as well. He’s a restricted free agent, so we’ll see how this process unfolds.”

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 give the first overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft a max deal, will the Suns be willing to match the numbers in that contract?