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#pounditFriday, August 12, 2022

Report reveals Suns’ Deandre Ayton contract stance

Deandre Ayton looks ahead

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

Deandre Ayton is set to become a restricted free agent this offseason, and the Phoenix Suns appear to view him differently than some other teams around the league.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on “SportsCenter” Wednesday that the chances of Ayton leaving the Suns are “increasingly likely” as the organization simply does not view him as worthy of a max contract.

“Phoenix has simply decided they don’t value Deandre Ayton on a max contract,” Wojnarowski said, via Tim Daniels of Bleacher Report. “The good news for Deandre Ayton is a number of teams around the league do, and I think as a restricted free agent most teams are expecting right now as they jockey to get involved with Deandre Ayton is a sign-and-trade scenario.”

The Suns have been souring on Ayton for a while, and tensions appeared to boil over during Phoenix’s playoff exit. Plenty of teams may be interested, but there is no clear favorite after one team heavily linked to the center apparently backed away recently.

The 23-year-old Ayton was the top pick in the 2018 draft. He averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game in 58 games last season.

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