Deandre Ayton free agency predictions: Breaking down best fits, contract projection for Suns center
This offseason is dedicated to Deandre Ayton for the Suns.
After finishing the regular season with the league’s best record, it all came crashing down for Phoenix in the second round of the playoffs, losing to Dallas by a historic margin in Game 7.
It’s far from the end of the road for the Suns – Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Mikal Bridges are each under contract for the foreseeable future – but they have a big decision to make with Ayton, the only core member of the team which should be extended this summer.
Ayton has been a big part of Phoenix’s success in each of the past two seasons and is one of the best players available in this class of free agents. He is expected to command maximum pay.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at Ayton’s contract details, strengths, weaknesses and best fits before we get into the latest on the Suns’ center ahead of free agency.
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Deandre Ayton contract details
After being selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Ayton signed a four-year, $40.4 million contract with the Suns. He’s a restricted free agent this offseason, which means he can sign an offer sheet with any team in the league, but the Suns will have an opportunity to bring him back by matching the offer sheet. .
Ayton is eligible for a five-year, $177 million extension with the Suns. The maximum he can sign with any other team is four years, $131.1 million.
Another option for Ayton is to sign the qualifying offer for the 2022-23 season, worth $16.4 million. He would then be an unrestricted free agent next offseason, allowing him to sign with any team he chooses.
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The strengths and weaknesses of Deandre Ayton
There aren’t many crosses that impact both ends of the pitch at Ayton’s level.
Offensively, Ayton thrives as an offensive roller, cutter and rebounder. He’s a massive target at 6-foot-11 with a wingspan of 7-foot-6 and he’s got a good touch around the basket. According to Cleaning The Glass, he shot 76.6% at the rim in the 2021-22 season, ranking him in the 89th percentile for his position. He also has a medium hook shot, which makes him a floating distance scoring threat.
Ayton doesn’t take a lot of jumpers, but he has enough potential as a mid-range and 3-point shooter to believe that could be a bigger part of his game going forward.
Although Ayton doesn’t get as many blocks and steals as other centers, he is a solid rim protector. He is also a versatile defender. Not only does he have the strength to guard forwards and crosses, but he’s nimble enough to get through to guards.
Ayton has been more of a finisher than a creator over the past two seasons. Some of that is a result of adapting his game to better complement Booker and Paul, who are two of the best shot-makers in the NBA, but it’s fair to wonder how he’d fare as a point. focal on offense.
Ayton is also more of a great finesse than a bruise. It’s telling that he’s averaged 2.4 free throw attempts per game this season, an incredibly low rating for a starting center.
In the end, Ayton turned out to be an excellent actor, but is he a star? That’s the over $30 million question.
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How old is Deandre Ayton?
Born on July 23, 1998, Ayton will be 24 this offseason.
Over the four seasons of his career, Ayton is averaging 16.3 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game on 59.9 percent shooting from the field. His best years are still ahead of him.
Deandre Ayton possible teams and best fits
The first team that comes to mind is Pistons. According to James L. Edwards III of The Athletic, Detroit is “highly expected” to pursue Ayton in restricted free agency. The Pistons have the money to do it and Ayton would be a good addition to their core, which is headlined by Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey.
The raptors are an attractive option for Ayton. They don’t have cap space like the Pistons, so their best hope of getting it would be in a sign-and-trade. It’s no secret that Toronto is looking for a center, and Ayton has the versatility to play in Nick Nurse’s system.
The Spurs were mentioned as a potential destination for Ayton. San Antonio is one of the few teams expected to have cap space this offseason and is acquiring young talent, especially in Ayton’s position. Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported in May that Spurs had begun weighing their long-term plans on the front line at this season’s trade deadline. Their current starting center, Jakob Poeltl, is expected to enter free agency in 2023.
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Deandre Ayton news, rumors and latest updates
Ahead of the 2022 NBA Draft, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Suns don’t like Ayton to a max contract, adding that he thinks Phoenix is motivated to find a sign and trade to get some assets in exchange for the former No. 1 pick.