PHOENIX SUNS

ESPN’s Marks: Suns not giving Deandre Ayton a max contract may linger

Oct 5, 2021, 5:00 PM | Updated: 5:01 pm
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) dunks against Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) during...

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) dunks against Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) during the second half of Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals, Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The decision to not give a max contract extension to Deandre Ayton so far this offseason may linger with the Phoenix Suns into the 2021-22 season, according to ESPN NBA front office insider Bobby Marks.

Marks told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Tuesday that an extension may have already been done if the intent was there from the Suns organization.

“If (owner) Robert Sarver wanted to sign Deandre Ayton to a max contract, he would have done it in the first week or second week of August,” Marks said.

Ayton does not want to accept anything less than a max contract, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and confirmed by Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro.

Ayton proved his worth throughout the 2021 NBA Playoffs. He defended key assignments in NBA MVP Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets, All-Star forward Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers and eventual Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Throughout the playoffs, Ayton averaged 15.8 points and 11.8 rebounds and shot 65.8% from the field.

Four members of his 2018 NBA Draft class have accepted max contract extensions this offseason: Denver’s Michael Porter Jr., Atlanta’s Trae Young, Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dallas’ Luka Doncic.

Marks said not signing Ayton to an extension risks the issue becoming a talking point throughout the entire season.

“I think the one thing you don’t want to do also is have this hang over the organization all year, especially coming off getting to the Finals,” Marks said.

The possibility of paying a luxury tax in upcoming seasons may also be a role. Phoenix has not payed the luxury tax since the 2009-10 season.

Marks said that dealing with the luxury tax is part of the process when extending younger stars.

“That’s just the cost of business these days as far as when you retain your younger players that are due for these extensions or a new contract next year,” Marks said. “You’re going to be close or you’re going to be in the tax.”

Ayton will become a restricted free agent after the 2021-22 season if an extension is not agreed on by Oct. 18. Phoenix would be able to match any offers given to Ayton in restricted free agency.

Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) drives past Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe during the ...
Arizona Sports

NBA All-Star voting update: Suns’ Devin Booker still outpaced by Klay Thompson

Suns G Devin Booker continues to lose ground on the Warriors’ Klay Thompson in the most recent return of NBA All-Star fan voting.
14 hours ago
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) shoots against the San Antonio Spurs during the second half of ...
Kellan Olson

Devin Booker leads Suns with season-high 48 points in win vs. Spurs

Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker was sensational with a season-high 48 points in a win over the San Antonio Spurs.
4 days ago
Cameron Johnson #23 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball against Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los An...
Arizona Sports

Cam Johnson returning for Phoenix Suns after 3-game absence

Suns forward Cam Johnson is returning Monday night against the San Antonio Spurs after a three-game absence because of a left ankle sprain.
4 days ago
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns dribbles the ball while being guarded by Justin Holiday #8 of t...
Arizona Sports

Suns’ Devin Booker earns Western Conference Player of the Week honors

After leading the Suns to a 3-0 record on the road, guard Devin Booker was named Western Conference Player of the Week.
4 days ago
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns drives against Cory Joseph #18 of the Detroit Pistons in the se...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns roll through Pistons for convincing road win

The Phoenix Suns were not going to let another matinee weekend game on a road trip get the better of them.
5 days ago
Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham (2) drives to the basket as Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton...
Arizona Sports

Suns’ Deandre Ayton leaves win vs. Pistons with sprained right ankle

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams had no update on center Deandre Ayton after he exited Sunday's win in Detroit with an ankle injury.
5 days ago
ESPN’s Marks: Suns not giving Deandre Ayton a max contract may linger