Deandre Ayton isn't going anywhere.
The Phoenix Suns matched the four-year, $133 million offer sheet from the Indiana Pacers. The restricted free agent center is returning to the valley. This was confirmed yesterday evening, according to Ayton's agents, Bill Duffy and Nima Namakian.
Phoenix has dipped $15 million into the luxury tax following this move. Devin Booker signed his max extension last week. Mikal Bridges signed his before last season.
Here is the timeline of events that transpired from Ayton agreeing to the terms of the offer sheet, eventually signing, and then the Phoenix Suns matching the offer at an astounding pace -
5:01 PM - Woj reports that Ayton has signed the record-setting offer sheet and put the Suns on the proverbial clock to match the offer. They had 48 hours to complete:
Approximately sixteen minutes later. The Athletic's NBA Insider, Shams Charania, reported that the Phoenix Suns matched the offer from the Indiana Pacers. Translation - Deandre Ayton is staying home.
The confounding case of whether or not Deandre Ayton would return to the Suns next season has been temporarily answered. With the Suns matching the offer, DA cannot be traded until January 15th and has veto power on a trade for a full year, according to his agents.
This could potentially (or not) be a domino effect in the Suns public pursuit of NBA superstar, Kevin Durant. Since Ayton's roster spot is secured, Suns General Manager - James Jones - will need to be savvy in creating a trade package (that will not include Ayton) to entice the Brooklyn Nets to agree to send Durant to Phoenix.
Ayton, who turns 24 next week, was named to All-Rookie first team in 2019, was a key contributor to the Suns run to the 2021 NBA Finals, and helped guide Phoenix to a franchise record - 64 wins - last season before losing to the Dallas Mavericks in the second-round of the playoffs.
He averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds this past season, shooting 63.4% from the field and 74.6% from the foul line.
Ayton was selected as the number one overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft which includes other young NBA superstars like Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Jaren Jackson Jr, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.