The Phoenix Suns reluctance to offer C Deandre Ayton a rookie max contract extension has stalled contract discussions, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported early Tuesday morning. Ayton, who was the No. 1 overall pick back in 2018, is entering the final year of his rookie deal and is eligible for a max extension, one that could look like five years for $172.5 million, per Woj.
Ayton was a key component in the Suns run to the 2021 NBA Finals this past season. His offense regressed a bit, but that was mostly because of the roster he was on. Chris Paul was added to the fold and Devin Booker was in another year learning to be an Alpha scorer. So Ayton still was very impressive from an efficiency standpoint, shooting 62 percent from the floor while averaging a double-double with over a block per game.
The issue with Ayton’s demands come from the rest of his 2018 draft classmates. Trae Young, Luka Doncic, Michael Porter Jr. and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander all receiver max extension from their respective teams. Ayton won’t accept a deal less than his peers, per Woj. Now, is Ayton in the class of Young and Doncic? No. Is he in the class of MPJ and SGA? Definitely. So there’s an argument to be had in favor of Ayton getting this type of deal.
The two sides have until Oct. 18 to get a deal done. If one isn’t done, then Ayton enters the final year of his rookie contract and would be set for restricted free agency in the offseason, something that could create a distraction for a team looking to win a title.