Suns GM Says Deandre Ayton Important, But Contract Situation Looms Large

Deandre Ayton’s looming free agency is already one of the NBA’s biggest offseason storylines, and the playoffs haven’t even ended.

Granted, the Phoenix Suns center will be a restricted free agent, meaning the Suns can match any offer he receives from another team. But he could very well be in line for a max offer, as relayed by Hoops Wire.

And if that’s the case, the Suns actually match? For starters, you wouldn’t think it would be something the Suns would offer on their own. Not with the way things went to end the season (more on that in a minute).

Either way, general manager James Jones indicated that Ayton remains part of the Suns’ future.

“Deandre had an amazing season and he’s progressed every year and improved every year,” Jones told reporters. “He’s been here and so he’s a big part of what we do.

His future with us is something we will address at the proper time which is in the future. He’s a free agent and I’ve said all along: he’s about the same things were about, which is winning. We’ll address it at the proper time.”

Ayton, 23, was selected with the No. 1 pick in 2018. That was two picks hire than Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic. Bet the Suns wish they could have that pick back.

To be fair, Ayton did have a nice season, and when approaching things like a team player, has been a good fit in Phoenix. This past year, he averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds while shooting a career-best 63.4 percent from the field.

But he also melted down in the Suns’ Game 7 loss to Doncic and the Mavs, and even got into a well-documented sideline beef with coach Monty Williams. This all seemed to start at the beginning of the season, when Ayton wasn’t happy about his contract situation. Those feelings never seemed to improve.

So what will the Suns do now? We will likely have to wait until the end of June, or later, when free agency gets underway. Even Jones admitted that much.

Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico is the assistant managing editor-newsdesk at OutKick. He is also the co-founder and senior writer at Hoopswire.com, and has covered the NBA for nearly 20 years, including his time at Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and CBS Sports. A native of Akron, Ohio, his writing career began in Wyoming.

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