Phoenix Suns match Indiana Pacers’ max offer sheet for center Deandre Ayton

Jul 14, 2022, 5:32 PM | Updated: 8:48 pm

The Phoenix Suns have decided to match the Indiana Pacers’ offer sheet to restricted free agent Deandre Ayton, per The Athletic‘s Shams Charania.

Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro also confirmed the move, adding that the Suns signed the maximum offer sheet in less than five minutes from when the team received it.

“There was never a chance the Suns were not going to match the offer sheet,” Gambadoro tweeted. “Was told Deandre Ayton is a part of the Suns core going forward. Pacers did inquire about sending Myles Turner to the Suns in a sign and trade but Suns had no interest in Turner.”

Charania adds that Phoenix “now goes approximately $15M into the tax” and “made clear throughout free agency” that the team wanted to bring Ayton back to build title contender with Devin Booker and Chris Paul.

With the Suns matching, the team cannot trade the center until Jan. 15 at the earliest. Ayton also has the power to veto a trade for a full year.

The news of Phoenix’s decision comes after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday that Ayton had signed a max offer sheet that extends four years and is worth $133 million.

Wojnarowski added that the expectation was for Phoenix to match Indiana’s offer.

The Suns surprised many around the league by not coming to terms on a max contract extension with the 2018 NBA Draft’s first overall pick last summer.

Ayton, far from the only reason Phoenix fell in the conference semifinals to the Dallas Mavericks, had an inconsistent playoff run and was benched by head coach Monty Williams in the Game 7 blowout loss that ended the team’s season.

According to Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro and others, the Suns at the very least listened to a proposal centered around then-Indiana Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis and Ayton before the February trade deadline. That trade did not materialize, and Sabonis was instead dealt to the Sacramento Kings.

Still, Ayton, who turns 24 this month, was a key factor all year.

He averaged 17.2 points, 10.2 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per game this regular season, shooting a career-high 64.3% despite expanding his offensive repertoire in short-roll situations and with midrange jumpers.

Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (35) drives against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards ...
Arizona Sports

Kevin Durant drops 1st bucket at home for Suns in win vs. Timberwolves

Kevin Durant started and dropped a turnaround jumper over Minnesota Timberwolves F Jaden McDaniels from the left shoulder.
22 hours ago
Incoming Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia claps during the first half against the Brooklyn Nets at Foo...
Character Counts

Suns owner Mat Ishbia, fan team up to give away suite tickets

New Suns majority owner Mat Ishbia is finding a new ways to ingratiate himself with the community by teaming up with fan, Andrew Leezus.
22 hours ago
Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns reacts after scoring in the second half against the Chicago Bu...
Arizona Sports

Suns’ Kevin Durant will return Wednesday vs. Timberwolves

Phoenix Suns GM and president of basketball operations James Jones said he expected Kevin Durant to play Wednesday against the Timberwolves.
22 hours ago
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns warms up before a game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Arena on...
Kellan Olson

Devin Booker’s lifelong dream of Nike signature shoe reportedly on horizon

Devin Booker's completion rate on his bucket list puts just about all of us to shame. A signature shoe with Nike is the next box to check.
22 hours ago
Phoenix Suns Forward Kevin Durant (35) and Phoenix Suns Guard Devin Booker (1) looks on during a NB...
Kellan Olson

What to watch in Kevin Durant’s return, closing stretch of the season

Wednesday is expected to bring the home debut of Kevin Durant and the resumption of the Phoenix Suns' incorporation process.
22 hours ago
Karl-Anthony Towns #32and Mike Conley #10 of the Minnesota Timberwolves react after Towns hit the g...
Kellan Olson

Timberwolves finally at full strength ahead of crucial matchup vs. Suns

The Phoenix Suns have a big-time game on Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have a few things coming together right now.
2 days ago
Phoenix Suns match Indiana Pacers’ max offer sheet for center Deandre Ayton