PHOENIX SUNS

Report: Deandre Ayton extension talks with Suns end before deadline

Oct 18, 2021, 12:12 PM | Updated: 12:17 pm
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns reacts in the first half of game five of the NBA Finals at Fo...
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns reacts in the first half of game five of the NBA Finals at Footprint Center on July 17, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton and the team have ended contract extension negotiations with three hours to go before the deadline to reach an agreement, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Ayton had expected to earn a max contract, but Suns owner Robert Sarver had not extended that offer, adds Wojnarowski.

Ayton will be paid $12.6 million in the final year of his rookie contract this season.

If a deal isn’t agreed upon by 3 p.m. MST, Ayton will hit restricted free agency next offseason. The Suns could match any offer by another team.

Ayton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, joined teammates and fellow draftees Mikal Bridges and Landry Shamet as eligible players who could receive an extension this offseason. Those extensions will not kick in until the start of the 2022-23 season.

Bridges was the first of the three to earn a new contract, as he agreed to a four-year, $90 million extension on Sunday, per reports. Phoenix announced the agreement Monday.

The 23-year-old Ayton is coming off the best season of his young career, averaging 14.4 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game. While those averages were down for Ayton, his play directly translated to the Suns’ success in the regular season and playoffs.

Ayton had a huge impact in Phoenix’s first two playoff series, containing the Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis in the first round and corralling league MVP Nikola Jokic in the semifinals against the Denver Nuggets.

While he stagnated a bit in the Western Conference Finals and NBA Finals, Ayton still had a significant presence in the championship round because of his ability to defend NBA Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo better than just about anyone in the league.

Ayton’s playoff averages were up to 15.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and over a block and assist a game, while he shot 65.8% from the field.

The Suns are coming off one of the most successful seasons in franchise history, making the NBA Finals after a 51-21 record in the regular season. They begin their season on Wednesday at home against the Nuggets in a rematch from the 2021 playoffs.

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