Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton enters this NBA offseason as a restricted free agent.
There is a chance Deandre Ayton has played his final game in a Phoenix Suns uniform.
Because the Suns did not extend the five-year, rookie-scale max extension to Ayton before last season, the former No. 1 overall pick out of Arizona could be playing for a new team next year. Though Phoenix has the opportunity to match any offer sheet he garners in his restricted free agency, Ayton’s agent Bill Duffy expressed how disappointed they are with the Suns right now.
“We’re disappointed. We wanted a max contract,” said Duffy on SiriusXM. “He went out and was a solider the whole year, played well, improved his statistics. 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. There’s other teams in the league as well. He’s a restricted free agent, so we’ll see how this process unfolds.”
Here is the entire clip of Duffy speaking with SiriusXM last week when he was up in Chicago.
Deandre Ayton’s agent expressed disappointment in Phoenix Suns contract saga
Phoenix could have had anyone in the 2018 NBA Draft. They had the No. 1 overall pick, opting to take the native Bahamian who played part of his high school ball in The Valley, as well as down the road at U of A in Tucson. Duffy’s other client Luka Doncic went two picks later to the Atlanta Hawks, who traded his draft rights to the Dallas Mavericks for Trae Young, who went No. 5 overall.
There are other excellent players from this particular draft, but Doncic and Young are the shining stars up to this point of their NBA careers. Ayton has been vastly improved in his two most recent seasons in Phoenix. However, he is at-best the third most important player in this core of the Suns behind veteran point guard Chris Paul and up-and-coming superstar shooting guard Devin Booker.
Could Ayton return to the Suns on a new deal? Absolutely, but it would have to be on their terms. Ayton and Duffy should still try to get the best offer sheet out there and hope the Suns will match it. However, Ayton and his camp will be hard-pressed to find a better basketball situation than the one going on down in The Valley. Welcome to the wonderful world that is restricted free agency.
Ayton will be getting paid, but it remains to be seen if the bag will be coming from the Suns or not.