The Suns make a choice about Ayton.
Deandre Ayton will remain with the Phoenix Suns for another season after the team’s star center decided to match the offer the Indiana Pacers made earlier this week.
Ayton accepted the Pacers’ offer of $133 million over four years, and the Suns promptly countered. The Suns made a wise choice since Ayton has been a key component of their success over the previous two years, which included a trip to the NBA Finals in 2021 and holding the top seed in the West going into the postseason in 2022. The Suns would have received nothing in exchange for losing a young and talented player.
The Suns are prohibited from trading Ayton until January 15, 2023, and for one year, he will have complete veto authority over any proposed deals.
The former first-round selection in the 2018 NBA draft has been critical to Phoenix’s recent success. Last year, Ayton contributed to one of the league’s most potent offenses by averaging 17.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game.
Due to Durant’s July 1 request for a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, the Suns were forced to forfeit any opportunity they may have had to acquire him this summer due to his signing with the Pacers.
Following months of persistent rumors of conflict between Ayton and head coach Monty Williams, the Suns made this decision. Williams decided to take Ayton off the court early in the third quarter of Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks, limiting Ayton’s playing time to only 17 minutes. In the dreadful defeat, Ayton ended with five points, four rebounds, two assists, and a steal.
Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report stated in May that there had been “consistent word from league sources going back to the trade deadline.”
Hopefully for Suns fans, Ayton and Williams can bury the hatchet before season starts later this year.