Deandre Ayton went into this past offseason under the assumption that the Phoenix Suns would offer him a max rookie contract extension.
Unfortunately, Monday’s deadline to ink any such deal came and went this week, with Ayton failing to secure the 5-year, $173 million deal he had been hoping to get.
For obvious reasons, Ayton is not happy with how things went.
Last season Ayton averaged 14.4 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game for a team that came within a couple games of winning the NBA championship. He then went on to watch other players from his draft class, namely Luka Doncic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Michael Porter Jr., all get significantly more lucrative extensions than the one he was offered.
This week, Sam Amick of The Athletic revealed the real reason Phoenix opted not to give Ayton what he wanted.
“If they had given Ayton the designated rookie max extension like they did Devin Booker in the summer of 2018, that move would have limited their ability to pursue stars on other teams who have already been given designated rookie max deals,” he wrote.
“Per the rules of the league’s collective bargaining agreement, teams can’t have more than two players on designated rookie max extensions. If they have hopes of adding even more star power here — and it seems clear they do — that factor does make some sense.”
The video speaks for itself. https://t.co/b0V5YBd5V1
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 20, 2021
Folks will be split on whether the Suns handled this particular situation correctly, but it is undeniable that if they lose Ayton, they definitely misplayed their hand in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Last week, a report emerged revealing the real reason Phoenix opted to take Ayton over Doncic with the top overall selection three years ago. Clearly they wish they could have that one back.
Where does Ayton’s relationship with the Suns’ front office ultimately go from here? Time will tell.