Jun 30, 2022 - Sports

What the future holds for the Phoenix Suns' Deandre Ayton

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton dunks against the Dallas Mavericks

The Suns' Deandre Ayton was the top pick in the 2018 draft. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

NBA free agency begins at 3pm PT Thursday and speculation has been swirling around Phoenix Suns big man Deandre Ayton.

  • Ayton has one year left on his contract and is a restricted free agent, meaning Phoenix has the option of matching any offer another team makes him.
  • The Suns tendered a $16.4 million qualifying offer (which was a formality)to Ayton, Spotrac's Kevin Smith reported.

The big picture: ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said the Suns have been reluctant to give Ayton a max contract but there are other teams willing to do so.

  • The Suns are likely to send Ayton to another team in a sign-and-trade deal, Woj said Wednesday.
  • Phoenix can offer Ayton as much as $177 million over five years, while other teams can only give him a max contract of $131.1 million over four years.

What's next: If the Suns don't give Ayton a max deal, there are a number of possible destinations around the league for him.

Meanwhile: The Suns are also reportedly considering trading forward Jae Crowder and have called other teams to inquire about their interest.

Flashback: Phoenix could've re-signed Ayton last year but balked at giving him a max contract.

  • His season ended on a sour note for Ayton when he and head coach Monty Williams argued over Williams' decision to pull him after just 17 minutes of play during the Suns' Game 7 meltdown against the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Semifinals.

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