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#pounditFriday, December 2, 2022

Deandre Ayton does not seem thrilled to be back with Suns

Jan 3, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) against the New York Knicks at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns held their media day Monday after a tumultuous offseason, with one of the storylines being center Deandre Ayton’s long-term future with the organization.

The Suns allowed Ayton to enter restricted free agency during the offseason, but ultimately matched an offer sheet from the Indiana Pacers to keep him on a four-year, $133 million deal. That came despite persistent rumors that Ayton wanted out of Phoenix.

Ayton’s demeanor certainly did not do much to dispel talk about his unhappiness. The center did not offer much to the media, looking and sounding unenthusiastic. In one telling moment, Ayton was asked what his initial reaction was to the Suns matching Indiana’s offer and bringing him back.

“I was happy. It was all done, I guess,” Ayton said.

Ayton could just be focused or determined not to give much away in his press conference. That said, it’s hard not to read it as a lack of enthusiasm, especially considering how his season ended in May.

The 24-year-old center averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game last season, assuming a key role in the Phoenix starting five. That role should only grow this season, whether he’s looking forward to it or not.

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