Entering the off-season as a restricted free agent, the Phoenix Suns will have a big decision to make with former Wildcat Deandre Ayton.
Well, once again the Phoenix Suns’ season ended in title-less heartbreak and the future of this team could be in jeopardy as the team weighs its roster in the balance before making any personnel decisions. One of those decisions will involve Deandre Ayton, the 2018 No. 1 Draft pick.
Just 23, Ayton concluded his fourth season in the NBA averaging 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds en route to helping the Suns to a league-best 64-18 record. However, the Suns’ year ended with a disappointing second-round loss to Dallas, and Ayton’s season was marred with a bit of controversy.
For those that maybe didn’t know, it was clear that the former No. 1 pick wanted a maximum rookie contract extension coming into the season. But as we all learned, the two parties were ultimately at odds, and no deal was ever reached.
Instead, Ayton played the season as a third option to Devin Booker and Chris Paul, and he now enters the 2022 offseason as a restricted free agent, meaning he is free to sign an offer with any team. The Suns will have the opportunity to match any deal should they choose.
However, the relationship between Deandre Ayton and Phoenix is uncertain, and the former Wildcat should generate plenty of interest this off-season.
Deandre Ayton enters the off-season a big-time free agent, and it is quite possible he leaves Phoenix. Despite the Suns’ regular season success, the team faltered in the playoffs, and it was evident in that playoffs that not everything may be hunky dory in the Valley.
In the Suns’ game 7 loss, Ayton scored just five points in 17 minutes played (the lowest among any Suns’ starter). Ayton and head coach Monty Williams seemed to be at odds too, as Ayton was pulled with 20 minutes and 46 seconds remaining in the game.
Well, adding depth to the Ayton/Phoenix drama, Monty was asked after the game why he played so little, and Williams responded with “It’s Internal”.
Now NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski has even added that “Deandre Ayton did not feel valued by this Phoenix organization… Deandre Ayton is going to get a max contract in the marketplace somewhere… There are a lot of teams lining up to figure out: how can we acquire him?”
So, Deandre’s future with the Suns could be in jeopardy. The NBA free agency will likely begin on June 30 and we could soon know an answer shortly after. Either way, we are interested in seeing how this all plays out.