Ayton has been perhaps the most mentioned name when it comes to the possibility of a bigger name free agent switching teams. As Stein wrote, the Suns appear hesitant to make a “hefty long-term investment” in Ayton.
It is believed that Ayton is seeking a maximum contract, and that the Suns are apprehensive about giving him one. He already has been linked to the Hawks, Spurs, Trail Blazers and several others.
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.