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Report: Suns match Deandre Ayton offer sheet by Pacers

Phoenix will retain the center for four years at $133 million, the max contract.

2022 NBA Playoffs - Dallas Mavericks v Phoenix Suns
Deandre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns smiles during Game 5 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals on May 10, 2022 at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

Update — The Suns wasted no time matching the offer sheet for Ayton, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Phoenix had stood by the feeling Ayton wasn’t a max player. Well, now he is and the Suns/Pacers made him one. Ayton is worth this contract, though. The Suns need Ayton to continue to compete. If a Kevin Durant trade does happen, Ayton is Phoenix’s best piece to include. Whatever the Suns decide to do with Ayton, he’s going to continue to develop into one of the best centers in the NBA.

The Indiana Pacers have signed RFA C Deandre Ayton to a four-year, $133 million max offer sheet, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday afternoon. The Phoenix Suns have 48 hours to either match the offer sheet or let Ayton go to Indiana. The Suns had been reluctant to sign Ayton to an extension prior to last season. Phoenix may be OK letting the big man walk. We’ll see if the Suns are willing to match the highest offer sheet in NBA history.

The Pacers have had a busy offseason so far. Indiana traded PG Malcolm Brogdon to the Boston Celtics on July 1. The trade was made official last week. You would think C Myles Turner is the next player to be dealt if the Suns opt not to match the max offer sheet. Reports are saying Turner could be dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers. Ayton’s arrival could also mean Goga Bitadze gets traded.

The Pacers had been the betting favorite to land Ayton via offer sheet. He’s averaged a double-double in each season since being drafted No. 1 overall by the Suns back in 2018. Ayton has been an anchor down low for Phoenix, helping the Suns secure the top overall seed in the 2022 NBA playoffs. The Suns really don’t have any other options at center unless they want to play small ball or start Bismack Biyombo.