Pacers Appear Set To Offer Contract To Deandre Ayton

The Pacers could come to agreement on a contract with Suns center Deandre Ayton as soon as today, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, via RealGM.Deandre Ayton

Ayton is a restricted free agent and there have been reports he won’t be returning to Phoenix. Given his free agency status, he is this summer’s top sign-and-trade candidate. 

When it comes to Indiana, reports have suggested Ayton could be traded in a deal that would include center Myles Turner.

“The Pacers had to complete the Malcolm Brogdon trade with the Boston Celtics before they could move onto a deal for Ayton,” RealGM wrote. “That trade was officially completed on Saturday. The Pacers are now within range of being able to sign Ayton to a max offer sheet, or to work a sign-and-trade with the Suns.”

Last week, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports reported that an offer sheet for Ayton was presumably on the way, citing the Pacers and Raptors among the teams with possible interest. 

It is believed Ayton is seeking a maximum contract, and that the Suns are apprehensive about giving him one. Marc Stein of The Stein Line reported last month that the Suns have explored sign-and-trade scenarios.

Ayton’s agent, Bill Duffy, said there was some disappointment that a deal hadn’t been reached with the Suns during the season.

“We’re disappointed. We wanted a max contract,” Duffy said on SiriusXM Radio, via RealGM. “He went out and was a solider the whole year, played well, improved his statistics. So, we’re proud of him. A lot of guys handle things differently, but he was very mature about it.”

That is why Duffy believes Ayton is in line for a big raise.

“Things will work out for Deandre. He’s a valuable player,” Duffy said. “There’s other teams in the league as well. He’s a restricted free agent, so we’ll see how this process unfolds.”

“Deandre had an amazing season and he’s progressed every year and improved every year,” Jones told reporters. “He’s been here and so he’s a big part of what we do. His future with us is something we will address at the proper time which is in the future. He’s a free agent and I’ve said all along: he’s about the same things were about, which is winning. We’ll address it at the proper time.”

Ayton, 23, averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds this season while shooting a career-high 63.4 percent from the field. He is a restricted free agent.

As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted, Ayton was not happy with his contract situation entering the season. It ended prematurely in the Game 7 home loss to the Mavericks, in which Ayton played just 17 minutes and sat for most of the second half.

There was also a brief confrontation with coach Monty Williams on the sideline, something that has led to speculation involving Ayton’s desire to return to Phoenix. Fischer reported that Ayton may not exactly be among Williams’ favorites — another reason to believe that both Ayton and the Suns are perhaps ready to move on.

Windhorst reported the Ayton rumor during his regular segment on GetUp.

“While speaking on ESPN’s Get Up, Brian Windhorst said that the Indiana Pacers could sign Ayton as soon as Monday to an offer sheet,” RealGM relayed. “Windhorst also said a sign-and-trade is possible to send Ayton to Indiana.”

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