Suns Better Not Hesitate To Give Deandre Ayton Max Contract

Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The Phoenix Suns shocked a lot of people when they failed to agree on a rookie extension with Deandre Ayton before the 2021-22 NBA season. Both parties were set at prices they would not budge from, so no deal was made.

Ayton wanted a max contract, which is understandable. Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Michael Porter Jr. all received max deals. Jaren Jackson also signed for more than $100 million, so a max contract wasn’t an outrageous asking price, especially after how he performed during the Suns’ run to the NBA Finals.

Ownership, however, had different ideas. They did not believe that Ayton was worth a max at the time and was steadfast in their stance that they would not sign Ayton to one. As a result, Ayton will be hitting restricted free agency this summer.

In restricted free agency, the Suns will have the opportunity to match any offer sheet that Deandre Ayton may sign. Phoenix is catching a bit of a break, as the options are limited when it comes to teams with cap space to spend and sign someone to a max contract. But, the teams that could have space will certainly make a run at the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

LATEST NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: 3 Bold Sign-And-Trade Ideas Involving Phoenix Suns’ Deandre Ayton

The Detroit Pistons are the No. 1 team for the Phoenix Suns to keep an eye on. Detroit has money to burn and is in the market for a center. Ayton would fit their timeline perfectly, giving them a building block in the middle along with Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey. The Pistons will be adding another high-upside lottery pick to the mix in a few weeks as well.

Another team to keep an eye on is the San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio has put together a solid core of young players led by Dejounte Murray and Keldon Johnson. If Ayton is looking for a team that will make him more of a focal point on offense, the Spurs could be the destination he chooses.

Last but not least, the Portland Trail Blazers could make a run at him. Portland is looking to rebuild their roster around Damian Lillard this offseason. With Jusuf Nurkic heading into free agency, there could be a hole at the center spot in Portland. If they are unable to retain Nurkic, Deandre Ayton would become a target as the Trail Blazers could have a lot of money to spend this offseason.

LATEST NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: 3 Bold Sign-And-Trade Ideas Involving Phoenix Suns’ Deandre Ayton

Other teams could create max salary cap space with some moves or engage the Phoenix Suns in some sign-and-trade talks. But, the one thing that you can be sure of occurring this offseason, is Ayton signing a max contract.

Unless he had a change of heart and is willing to take less money to remain with the Suns, it seems like a guarantee that the Arizona product will be inked to a max contract. He has done nothing but improve his stock this season as Ayton has taken yet another step in his development.

Ayton averaged 17.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.7 blocks per game in only 29.5 minutes. He is improving every season as the anchor to their defense and is an integral part of their success and ascent into the upper echelon of the league.

LATEST NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: 3 Bold Sign-And-Trade Ideas Involving Phoenix Suns’ Deandre Ayton

In the postseason, he has taken his game to another level. He is averaging 21.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.6 steals and 1.1 blocks in 34.7 minutes per game. There is no way Phoenix can allow a player of that caliber to leave in free agency, as they will not be able to find someone that can replicate that level of production.

The Phoenix Suns have to be willing and eager to give Deandre Ayton a max contract this offseason. Turning only 24-years old in July, we likely haven’t even seen the best that he has to offer yet. That is certainly something that Phoenix should want to watch blossom for their organization, not for another team in the league.

About Kenneth Teape 3859 Articles
Kenneth Teape is an NBA Reporter for NBA Analysis Network. He covers all things across the league, including both news and editorial work. Make sure to follow Kenneth on Twitter at @teapester725.