Suns, Deandre Ayton reach impasse on contract talks | Inquirer Sports
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Suns, Deandre Ayton reach impasse on contract talks

/ 02:16 PM October 06, 2021
Deandre Ayton Phoenix Suns NBA

FILE – Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP 

Contract talks between the Phoenix Suns and center Deandre Ayton have broken down because the team doesn’t want to offer him a maximum rookie contract extension, ESPN reported Tuesday.

Ayton, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, wants a deal similar to those signed by other members of that year’s draft class, including Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks and Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks.

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Doncic and Young both signed supermax extensions of five years for $207 million. Ayton is eligible for a five-year, $172.5 million extension that could reach $207 million with escalator clauses.

The deadline to sign rookie extensions is Oct. 18. In Ayton’s case, ESPN reported, Suns’ management doesn’t view Ayton as belonging in the Doncic/Young group, and he thinks he does.

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If the two sides don’t reach an agreement by the deadline, Ayton, 23, would become a restricted free agent after the 2021-22 season and the Suns could keep him by matching any offer.

Forward Mikal Bridges also is eligible for a rookie extension.

Ayton was a key contributor during the Suns’ pursuit of the league championship, which fell short in a 4-2 series loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals.

In the regular season, he averaged 14.4 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks a game. In the postseason, he averaged 15.8 points in 22 games (all starts) on 65.8 percent shooting to go with 11.8 rebounds.

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