Duane Rankin: “One thing about me, throughout my whole life, I’ve always learned to control what I can control. At the same time, obviously I’m disappointed, but I’m still trying to get us back to the finals.” #Suns big Deandre Ayton addressing contract talks as they ended w/o an extension. pic.twitter.com/nJPmkUMqCi
There’s one element here which hasn’t been discussed publicly, but that Jones highlighted as part of the Suns’ thinking: If they had given Ayton the designated rookie max extension like they did Devin Booker in the summer of 2018, that move would have limited their ability to pursue stars on other teams who have already been given designated rookie max deals. Per the rules of the league’s collective bargaining agreement, teams can’t have more than two players on designated rookie max extensions. If they have hopes of adding even more star power here — and it seems clear they do — that factor does make some sense.
Yet Ayton’s representatives say they were never told of this rationale during the process, so one can understand why it would fall on deaf ears now and be seen, in essence, as part of a public effort to quell the criticism. What’s more, the prospect of landing a player of that caliber without giving up Booker or Ayton in return is likely far-fetched.
But Ayton’s agents, Bill Duffy and Nima Namakian, strongly disagree and were adamant in multiple conversations with The Athletic on Tuesday that a max deal of any kind was never offered even informally. From beginning to end, they said, the organization’s unmistakable message from Sarver on down was that Ayton wasn’t viewed as worthy of a max deal. In response, Jones said, “They know that a three- or four-year max was not an (acceptable) option for them.”
James, you’re the guy who’s making these calls and taking a fair amount of heat right now, so tell me: What led to the decision to not max out Deandre and let this go to restricted free agency next summer? What are people missing here about what you guys decided to do? James Jones: I mean, obviously, we’re disappointed that we couldn’t reach an extension agreement this offseason. Deandre is important for us. He means a lot to us and was vital in what we did and what we’ve done this past season. A lot of what we’ve done since the playoffs — bringing back CP (Chris Paul on a four-year, $120 million deal that includes $75 million in guaranteed money), Mikal (Bridges on a four-year, $90 million deal), Cam Payne (on a three-year, $19 million deal), Landry (Shamet on a four-year, $43 million deal that sources say includes $20 million in guaranteed money in the first two seasons, a non-guaranteed third season and a team option in the fourth season), JaVale (McGee on a one-year, $5 million deal), adding those guys — was intended to make this group even stronger. All of those moves were to help (Ayton) grow, help the team grow, because we want a championship.
James Jones: We know it’s important to us; it’s important to him that we continue to progress and we continue to develop and we win (a title). So when we talked about a focus this offseason, it was to continue to build this team. So for us, unfortunately, we are where we are (with Ayton). No agreement. We didn’t have real negotiations. You talk about conversations (with Ayton’s representatives, Bill Duffy and Nima ) — it was five-year, max extension like the other peers, the other former No. 1 picks, and that’s where the conversation started and ended. Anything less than a five-year max wasn’t something to be considered — not something to talk about. It’s evident. They talk about us having discussions on a three-year, four-year max (deals). Those are real.
Phoenix now faces an uncertain future with Deandre Ayton. The franchise center is unhappy with the franchise's consistent stance to his representatives that the organization simply didn't foresee him as a max player -- regardless of which of his peers in the 2018 NBA Draft class earned max deals this offseason, sources said.
Ayton, a key part of the Suns' run to the 2021 NBA Finals, held firm on wanting a full, five-year, max contract -- which would've been worth a guaranteed $172.5 million plus possible escalators -- but talks never progressed to the Suns making a formal offer on a max deal ahead of Monday's 6 p.m. ET deadline, sources told ESPN.
In recent weeks, Phoenix raised the concept of a shorter maximum contract deal -- perhaps over three or four years instead of the full five years -- but never formally made the offer or broached the idea again, sources said.
Jordan Schultz: No deal has been reached between the #Suns and franchise center Deandre Ayton, source confirms. This comes as no surprise, given Robert Sarver’s ineptitude and refusal to give Ayton the max deal he commands. Asking executives/coaches around the league, Ayton deserves a deal.
Duane Rankin: Monty Williams said his goal when it comes to players is to win games and get them paid when asked about Deandre Ayton's contract talks that are reportedly ended without a deal being reached on rookie extension. Declined to discuss talks as the deadline is 3 p.m. #Suns
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: Suns talks with Deandre Ayton on rookie extension have ended --- without a deal. Ayton expected max contract and owner Robert Sarver hasn’t offered it. More coming on consequences for failing to reach deal with 2018 No. 1 overall pick. NBA Today debut, ESPN2. Now.
Ayton, Jackson and Huerter are believed to be the strongest candidates to get deals done, but recent NBA history suggests that it would be wise to expect the over when it comes to extensions.
DeAndre Ayton and Suns owner Robert Sarver have met this week amid an ugly contract feud -- grabbing a drink together at a fancy spot in Arizona ... TMZ Sports has learned. We've obtained photos of the two at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort on Monday ... and witnesses tell us the guys appeared to be in talks over a new deal for Ayton.
Kellan Olson: Suns owner Robert Sarver on @BurnsAndGambo passed on questions about negotiations with Deandre Ayton before saying he believes James Jones is still having conversations with Ayton's agent and Sarver confirmed they want to get something done that works for both sides.
Kellan Olson: Deandre Ayton said he is really disappointed that he and the Suns have not been able to agree to a deal yet on a new contract extension. He loves Phoenix. Said they were 2 wins away from a title and wants to be respected like his peers in his draft class.
Two last things. In the offseason, I’m looking at Luka (Doncic), Trae (Young) get max extensions. Shai (Gilgeous-Alexander). When is Ayton going to get one? (Teams have until Oct. 18 to sign first rounders from the 2018 class to rookie contract extensions). Deandre Ayton: “All I want to do is win a championship. All I want to do is represent the city. Phoenix is where I’m at. Honestly, I’m expecting something to get done so we as a team can finish what we started, which is to bring a championship to Phoenix. Period. Literally.”
Duane Rankin: "It's not my job to pay a guy. If it was my job, everybody would be rich. I'd pay everybody. The cap isn't based on my heart. The organization would be broke, but everybody would be happy." Monty Williams on ESPN report #Suns max talks with Deandre Ayton bit.ly/3mvAfI4 pic.twitter.com/UnjetbDkBq
Bobby Marks: Another note on Deandre Ayton It is rare for a team to sign a player to a rookie max extension this late in the offseason. Since 2015, only 3 out of 17 rookie max extensions have been signed in October- Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins and Pascal Siakam.
The Phoenix Suns' reluctance to offer a maximum rookie contract extension to former No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton has stalled discussions on a deal, sources told ESPN on Tuesday. Ayton, a key part of the Suns' run to the 2021 NBA Finals, has no intention of accepting a deal less than the comparable max contracts signed by several of his 2018 NBA Draft classmates, including Atlanta's Trae Young, Dallas' Luka Doncic, Oklahoma City's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Denver's Michael Porter Jr., sources told ESPN.
Ayton, 23, is eligible for a five-year, $172.5 million extension, with escalators that could reach $207 million -- a deal that many executives league-wide expected would be complete in short order this offseason. But now, with a looming Oct. 18 deadline for rookie extensions, sources said the talks between the Suns and Ayton's representatives are slowed by ownership's current assertion that Ayton doesn't deserve to be included in that group of players -- and a belief by the 7-footer that his performance, potential and the marketplace dictate that he does.
Kellan Olson: James Jones with @BurnsAndGambo said the Suns will continue to have conversations with Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges on potential extensions. They value continuity. Said the goal is for something to happen.
Ayton is eligible for a rookie extension — five-year max deal worth $168 million — this summer after signing a four-year, $40.3-million deal as the top overall pick in the 2018 draft out of Arizona. The max extension wouldn't kick in until the 2022-23 season, thus giving the Suns some flexibility when it comes to Paul, who has a player option of $44.2 million he can opt into, opt out of to test free agency, or negotiate a multiyear deal with the Suns. According to HoopsHype, Paul, 36, can exercise his player option with Phoenix and extend for "an additional two years for a maximum of $97 million," giving him $140 million over the next three seasons.
Marc Stein: Chris Paul just pointed to Deandre Ayton during his post-game interview with @Rachel__Nichols and announced that the Suns are "gonna get him a bag this summer." Like Luka Doncic and Trae Young, Ayton is eligible for a lucrative contract extension in the offseason.
Kellan Olson: Robert Sarver said on @BurnsAndGambo from a financial standpoint as an owner that he is ready to commit to keeping Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton. With timing and all that, James Jones and his group will figure out the moving pieces. They want to improve the team furhter.
December 8, 2021 | 7:12 pm EST Update
December 8, 2021 | 7:09 pm EST Update
Dallas Mavericks PR: Luka Dončić (left ankle soreness) will be a game-time decision for tonight’s game in Memphis. Sterling Brown (left foot soreness) and Willie Cauley-Stein (personal reasons) will miss tonight’s game.