It was announced earlier today that Deandre Ayton has agreed to a four-year, $133 million contract with the Indiana Pacers.
After failing to reach an agreement on an extension before the start of the 21-22 season, Ayton became a restricted free agent.
As soon as Ayton signs the contract, the Suns will have 48 hours to match the offer sheet. If the Suns match the contract, they will not be able to trade him until after January 15th.
There was no serious engagement with Ayton on the type of contract he was seeking, and no offer was ever made. Despite that, the Suns are still expected to match the record-breaking offer sheet.
This is a big trade that would bring a top player to a small market team. It is not official because Ayton holds all the power. He holds veto rights on a trade for an entire season in the event of a Suns match.
Can the Indiana Pacers afford Deandre Ayton?
In order to make this move, the Pacers are waiving guard Duane Washington and waiving and stretching the three players who arrived in the Boston trade for Malcolm Brogdon: Malik Fitts, Juwan Morgan, and Nik Stauskas.
That’ll create the cap space to sign Ayton to the max offer sheet.
Deandre Ayton has been a large part of the Sun’s recent success. While Chris Paul and Devin Booker receive most of the credit, Ayton has performed very well with those two out of the game. Last season he average 19 points and 10.6 rebounds without Paul and Booker.
Where does this leave the Phoenix Suns?
This would be a devastating blow to a team who fell short of expectations in the playoffs this past season. The Suns were a favorite to win the NBA Championship until they lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the second round. Ayton is a key contributor to their success. The Suns will have to get creative if they don’t match or if Ayton forces their hand.