NBA Notes: Suns, Deandre Ayton, Cavs, Bucks

Suns

General manager James Jones said the plan all along was to bring back Deandre Ayton, so there was never any doubt the Suns would match the Pacers’ offer sheet.

“We wanted Deandre here,” Jones said, via Marc J. Spears of ESPN. “He’s vital to what we do, at the core of everything that we do. And throughout this whole process it was, it rang true. We wanted to keep him here, and the moment we can come to an agreement, we would. So, waiting 24 hours, 48 hours, that wasn’t something we needed to do because going into it, we knew this is where he wanted to be and where we wanted him to be.

“I’m one to just be direct. And if you’re convicted, if you know what you want to do, you do it. But if there’s any doubt from anyone that we wanted him, I think that the matching did that. It was urgent for us. It was important. It was critical for us. So, we just wanted to make sure that we handled our business quickly.”

Ayton told Spears he was thankful the Pacers made the offer in the first place.

“I got to give a lot of respect to the Pacers organization,” Ayton said. “They were aggressive from the start and showing a lot of love. And we agreed to a max offer sheet. The Suns matched. Now, I’m back in Phoenix as a Sun.”

Cavaliers

The Cavs are very much viewing lottery pick Ochai Agbaji as someone who could make an immediate impact in the area of perimeter shooting. They identified that as an area of need entering the draft, too.

“We know how great of a shooter he is and how good he is running off screens,” said summer league coach Mike Gerrity, via Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “I imagine that is going to be a way that (J.B. Bickerstaff) is going to utilize him come the regular season.”

Agbaji, 22, averaged 15.0 points, during summer play — though he shot just 37 percent from the field and on 3-pointers. The Cavs expect those numbers to improve once he gets more reps against NBA competition.

“Guys are going to be into him and force him to play inside that 3-point line,” Gerrity said, via Fedor. “I think he will get easier looks during the regular season and hopefully we will create situations where he will get more catch-and-shoots as opposed to having to run off so many screens. Find that balance. But I think it’s definitely going to be part of his development is continuing to put it on the floor and getting to his midrange and getting to his drive-and-kick. Those are all things he can take into this offseason.”

Bucks

In case you missed it, the Bucks have signed guard Pat Connaughton to a multi-year extension. The team has now made it official.

“Pat is a key contributor to our success with his energy, toughness, teamwork and three-point shooting,” Bucks GM Jon Horst said. “Pat has continued to embrace our fans and the city of Milwaukee, and we’re glad to have agreed to an extension with him.”

The extension is worth $28.5 million and includes a player option, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

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