The deal has been rumored for some time, and now the Suns have to decide whether to match the offer and keep Ayton or try to move him in a sign-and-trade. If so, you’d have to believe the Pacers are working on a deal that would involve center Myles Turner, perhaps sending him to the Suns.
“Sign-and-trade deals are longer allowed once Ayton signs the offer sheet with Indiana,’ Wojnarowski reported. “If the Suns do match the offer sheet, they can’t trade Ayton anywhere until at least Jan. 15 — and can’t trade him to Indiana for a year.”
“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 on the way, citing the Pacers and Raptors among the teams with interest.
It was always believed Ayton was seeking a maximum contract, and that the Suns have been apprehensive about giving him one. Marc Stein of The Stein Line reported last month that the Suns explored sign-and-trade scenarios.
Duffy admitted 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.
” … Things will work out for Deandre. He’s a valuable player. There’s other teams in the league as well. He’s a restricted free agent, so we’ll see how this process unfolds.”
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 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 immediately led to speculation involving Ayton’s desire to return to Phoenix. Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report 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.