Report: Suns don't want to offer max extension to Deandre Ayton

·2 min read

Contract talks between the Phoenix Suns and their young star Deandre Ayton have stalled, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Ayton wants a maximum rookie extension, and the Suns reportedly don't want to give him one.

Ayton is the former 2018 No. 1 overall draft pick, and his play is one of the major reasons the Suns made it to the NBA Finals last season. Despite that, Woj reported that the Suns don't think Ayton belongs in the same elite group as some of his peers. Ayton reportedly disagrees and believes he should be paid just like Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Michael Porter Jr. and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. All four were drafted after Ayton in 2018, and all have signed max extensions.


Ayton, 23, is eligible for a five-year, $172.5 million extension, with escalators that could reach $207 million — a deal that many executives league-wide expected would be complete in short order this offseason. But now, with a looming Oct. 18 deadline for rookie extensions, sources said the talks between the Suns and Ayton's representatives are slowed by ownership's current assertion that Ayton doesn't deserve to be included in that group of players — and a belief by the 7-footer that his performance, potential and the marketplace dictate that he does.

DENVER, CO - JUNE 13:  Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns scores on a slam dunk against the Denver Nuggets in Game Four of the Western Conference second-round playoff series at Ball Arena on June 13, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Contract talks between the Phoenix Suns and their two-way standout Deandre Ayton have stalled. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Ayton has grown into a two-way standout, looking menacing on defense and averaging 14.4 points and 10.5 rebounds in 30.7 minutes per game. Then in the playoffs, he put up some unbelievable numbers.

Among his playoff successes, according to ESPN's Stats and Information, his 66% postseason field goal percentage was the highest in NBA history. He shot at least 50% in 17 straight playoff games, trailing only Shaquille O'Neal (2006) for the longest postseason streak in league history.

Ayton held NBA Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to 53% shooting as the primary defender in the Finals, while Antetokounmpo shot 70% against the rest of the Suns.

He also worked exceptionally well with Chris Paul, another major force in the Suns' journey to the NBA finals. Paul assisted Ayton on 143 baskets, which is the second-most out of any combo in the league, according to ESPN. The Suns have already signed the 36-year-old Paul to a four-year extension.

If the two sides don't come to an agreement by the Oct. 18 deadline, Ayton could become a restricted free agent next year. That doesn't mean it's over between him and the Suns, since they still have matching rights on any offer he gets, but that's not likely to build up any goodwill between them. If Ayton believes he's worth a max extension, he won't take less, not even from the team that drafted him.