The TV series Deandre Ayton is finally over. He and the Phoenix Suns have had a hectic summer, but now they can get back to basics. The Pivot is under contract for $133 million for the next four years.
The offer did not come directly from his team. The Suns could have given him $179 million over five years last year, but they chose to negotiate. Again that summer, Ayton had to accept the Pacers’ proposal to push Phoenix into the lineup.
The 23-year-old quickly realized it was nothing personal. In the NBA, business is business. Some learned the hard way, while he chose to approach his first free agency with that mentality.
“I understand that this is a business. So I was excited to see the outcome of all this so I could focus, move on, and get back to work. I’ve done everything to do with business. Just approach everything professionally and don’t look too far.”he summarizes in an interview with ESPN’s Marc J. Spears.
James Jones, the Suns’ general manager, never considered letting him go. As soon as Indiana’s offer landed on his desk, he rushed to oblige. He apparently intended to re-sign his pivot at all costs, but still wanted to push the negotiations through to the end in order to secure the best possible deal.
“We wanted Deandre here. It is vital to us, it is at the heart of everything we do. […] So we didn’t have to wait 24 or 48 hours because we knew from the start that he wanted to be there and where we wanted him.”explains the GM.
Split rumors escalated following Phoenix’s Game 7 loss to the Mavericks. A game where Monty Williams left the player on the bench for most of the second half. The two appeared to be having an intense conversation from the sidelines, which the manager declined to comment on at a press conference.
“I didn’t feel like I had to say anything. I was just doing my job. We had a bad day, but we had an incredible season. Unfortunately, in sport and even in society, we tend to focus on the negative. […] I’m happy for Deandre (and his new contract) because I know that’s what he wanted.”assures the coach.
Deandre Ayton also left this game behind. He wanted to “continue” and considered this meeting “an anomaly”. He claims he is on good terms with his coach and defines their relationship as “quiet”.
If Ayton signed with the Pacers, it wasn’t just because of the salary, of course. There was a real possibility that he would end up playing for Indiana, who were keen to sign him. They cut off several players for this and were open to the idea of negotiating a sign-and-trade if necessary. The Bahamian interior also wanted to form a promising duo with him Tyrese Haliburton and become one of the core pieces of the squad.
For its part, Phoenix declined to discuss sign-and-trade. Here, too, the aim was to keep the player primarily under contract.
“There was a lot of uncertainty throughout the process. I have a lot of respect for the Pacers organization. They were aggressive early on and they showed a lot of interest. “A maximum offer agreed. The Suns have agreed. Now I’m back in Phoenix as the sun”pursues Ayton.
After all, the pivot will not have the opportunity to be one of his team’s first options. But maybe it’s for the best. He can now focus 100% on winning the title ChrisPaul, Devin Booker and Mikal Bridges.
“I’m happy. The processis finished. It’s all behind me and I’m focused on winning the title with my brothers this season.” he assures.
Deandre Ayton ultimately stays with the Suns on his own terms
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