The Phoenix Suns matched the Indiana Pacers’ four-year, $133 million supply sheet for restricted free agent heart Deandre Ayton, clearing the way in which for him to return to the franchise, his brokers, Invoice Duffy and Nima Namakian, informed ESPN on Thursday night time.
The Suns had till 11:59 p.m. ET on Saturday to match the most important supply sheet within the historical past of the NBA, however matched it instantly and ended the Pacers’ pursuit of Ayton.
Phoenix confirmed no inclination to barter a sign-and-trade settlement with Indiana previous to Ayton signing the sheet, sources mentioned, signaling that the Suns have been more likely to match the supply sheet as soon as it was offered to them. If the Suns did not match, they might’ve misplaced Ayton, the No. 1 general decide within the 2018 NBA draft, for nothing.
The Suns can not commerce Ayton till Jan. 15 — and can’t commerce him for a full 12 months with out his consent. This takes Ayton out of any doable offseason commerce situation involving Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant.
Namakian of Innovate Sports activities and Duffy of BDA Sports activities and WME had insisted to the Suns that they may discover a most contract supply for Ayton within the market, they usually delivered it with the supply sheet. The Suns had by no means made Ayton a max supply, suggesting they did not worth him as a max participant.
The largest supply sheet signed by a crew that wasn’t matched was when Harrison Barnes was signed by the Dallas Mavericks for 4 years and $94.4 million in 2016, the identical summer season when Barnes’ former crew, the Golden State Warriors, signed Durant as a free agent.
Ayton had been obsessed with the potential of pairing with proficient younger guard Tyrese Haliburton and turning into a centerpiece of the Pacers’ rebuild, sources informed ESPN.
Indiana traded Malcolm Brogdon earlier this offseason and Domantas Sabonis final season, shifting into a brand new period centered round an thrilling younger backcourt of Haliburton, an rising star, and rookie Bennedict Mathurin, the sixth decide in final month’s NBA draft.
The Pacers wanted to filter $4.7 million in cap area to signal Ayton to the max supply sheet. To do this, Indiana waived guard Duane Washington and waived and stretched the three gamers who arrived within the Boston commerce for Brogdon: Malik Fitts, Juwan Morgan and Nik Stauskas, sources informed ESPN.
Ayton, who turns 24 subsequent week, was drafted with the primary decide within the 2018 draft out of Arizona, a part of a star-studded draft class that additionally included Luka Doncic (third), Jaren Jackson Jr. (fourth), Trae Younger (fifth) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (eleventh).
After making the All-Rookie first crew in 2019, Ayton has developed into a top quality beginning heart, averaging 16.3 factors and 10.5 rebounds whereas serving to anchor Phoenix’s protection throughout its run to the 2021 NBA Finals — the primary time the franchise had reached the league’s championship spherical since Charles Barkley led the Suns there in 1993.
Ayton averaged 17.2 factors and 10.2 rebounds this previous season, taking pictures 63.4% from the sphere and 74.6% from the foul line.
After an excellent common season, ending with the league’s finest report, Phoenix’s postseason ended with a blowout loss to the Mavericks in Sport 7 of the Western Convention semifinals — a recreation Ayton spent many of the second half watching from the bench.
When requested after the sport why that occurred, Suns coach Monty Williams mentioned, “It is inner.” Ayton, in the meantime, declined to speak to reporters after the sport.
ESPN’s Tim Bontemps and Bobby Marks contributed to this report.