While speculation persists about Deandre Ayton‘s future with the Suns, general manager James Jones says that Ayton remains a big part of the team’s plans.
“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 is a restricted free agent, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski recently said someone will offer Ayton a max contract this summer.
“Deandre Ayton did not feel valued by this Phoenix organization,” Wojnarowski said. “They were not able to come to an agreement on his rookie extension. He saw many of the top players in his class get extensions and he wanted a max deal, he would not move off that. So now he moves towards restricted free agency this summer where he’ll have some more options.”
Ayton, 23, averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds this season while shooting a career-high 63.4 percent from the field.
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 has led to speculation involving Ayton’s desire to return to Phoenix.
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