PHOENIX SUNS

James Jones: Suns preferred deal shorter than 5 years for Deandre Ayton

Oct 20, 2021, 5:17 PM

Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns looks to pass around Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets d...

Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns looks to pass around Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets during the NBA game at Phoenix Suns Arena on January 23, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns tip off their 2021-22 season on Wednesday night at Footprint Center against the Denver Nuggets.

But prior to the NBA’s opening night, the time period for contract extensions for players on rookie contracts came to a close.

And with that came a four-year, $90 million extension for Suns forward Mikal Bridges and a four-year, $43 million deal for guard Landry Shamet.

However, the obvious missing name from that list is Phoenix’s No. 1 overall pick in 2018, center Deandre Ayton.

On Wednesday, Suns general manager James Jones told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo that Ayton wanted nothing less than a five-year deal, but that the team wasn’t interested in offering a contract of that length.

“For a multitude of reasons but ultimately when we looked at it from a team-building or roster construction standpoint, it just wasn’t our preference,” Jones said. “And we decided that that wasn’t something we wanted to do. That’s really what it came down to.”

“We had great discussions initially, he added. “We discussed a multitude of things but ultimately, a four-year deal, a three-year deal just wasn’t something that was an option. And it was five years and that’s it. So that’s pretty much where it ended.

“Like I said it’s unfortunate because it’s not reflective of our commitment, our desire to Deandre. It’s just at that point in time, we couldn’t come to an agreement.”

Jones and Ayton will now have to shift their focus from the negotiating table to the court, which is something the general manager is not too worried about spilling over onto the hardwood as the Suns look to defend their Western Conference title.

“For us and for a multitude of reasons that the five-year max wasn’t something that we were gonna do. We just couldn’t get beyond that and so everything else really didn’t matter,” Jones said. “Nothing else really happened. No other conversations were considered.

“Like I said, it’s something that for us we just hope as we continue to build this team and as we go on this journey this year to chase a championship that people will understand that the commitment to this team, the commitment to winning by everyone involved — the coaches, the front office the players — that we’re all on the same page and that eventually we’ll get to where we need to be.”

And after coming off a season in which Phoenix reached just its third NBA Finals in franchise history, head coach Monty Williams and Co. will now have much higher expectations going into this season compared to last year.

“I’m not worried about that. I’m not concerned about that,” Jones said. “I’ve said before that I’m more focused on making sure that these expectations we have for ourselves that we don’t get overly locked in and too stressed about excellence and trying to win a title. That puts more pressure on people than anything else when you set a high goal. …

“The way Deandre approaches the game, the way our guys approach the game — they just play, they just compete, they just hoop and that’s why they’ve improved and I expect that to be the case this year too.”

Comments

Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Phoenix Suns

Drew Eubanks #14 of the Phoenix Suns warms up before the NBA game against the Detroit Pistons at Fo...

Damon Allred

Drew Eubanks, Anthony Edwards questionable for Suns’ regular season finale vs. Timberwolves

The Suns listed Drew Eubanks as questionable and Damion Lee as out for the team's regular season finale against the Timberwolves on Sunday.

2 hours ago

Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kings drives against Jusuf Nurkic #20 of the Phoenix Suns du...

David Veenstra

Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic fined for flopping against Sacramento Kings

Jusuf Nurkic was fined $2,000 for flopping for his actions against the Sacramento Kings at the Golden 1 Center on Friday night.

3 hours ago

Royce O'Neale #00 and Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns celebrate defeating the Sacramento Kings ...

David Veenstra

Here’s what’s at stake in seeding, standings, tiebreakers for Phoenix Suns, Western Conference

Here are the NBA playoff seeding implications for the Suns and the tiebreakers in the Western Conference standings.

5 hours ago

Bradley Beal #3 of the Phoenix Suns brings the ball up court against the Charlotte Hornets during t...

Kellan Olson

Bradley Beal leads big-time Suns response in ugly win vs. Kings

For as much as the last two games looked like the Suns calling it a day on the 2023-24 season, they had at least one more fight left in them.

19 hours ago

Devin Booker #1 and head coach Frank Vogel of the Phoenix Suns...

Arizona Sports

NBA playoff standings: Suns can still avoid play-in with 1 game left

Where are the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference standings? They're fighting for playoff positioning and hoping to avoid the play-in.

20 hours ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: Something feels very different with Devin Booker and the Suns

On the latest Bickley Blast, Dan Bickley asks if a Devin Booker trade request is in the near future.

1 day ago

James Jones: Suns preferred deal shorter than 5 years for Deandre Ayton