The Phoenix Suns have to pay Deandre Ayton
The Suns can’t afford to lose Deandre Ayton. Robert Sarver can afford to pay it. So what is the heist?
Phoenix and Ayton had started talks this summer regarding an extension of the No.1 pick in the 2018 Draft, though those talks would have “blocked”, according to ESPN. Ayton requests the maximum extension received by other members of his class, including Trae Young and Luka Dončić (among others). ESPN’s story also makes it clear which side is responsible for the heist. The report states that the property, or Sarver in this case, claims Ayton should not be included in the max extensions group. From the report:
“If Suns owner Robert Sarver fails to come to an agreement with Ayton before the deadline, it will certainly raise questions again about his commitment to building a lasting contender in the Western Conference.”
After all the goodwill the Suns built up last season, first by acquiring Chris Paul, then making a surprise run to the Finals, not agreeing to a deal with Ayton would be… silly? Phoenix wouldn’t necessarily risk losing Ayton in this scenario. The former Arizona star would become a restricted free agent next July if he doesn’t accept a new deal, meaning the Suns can match any offer he signs. But why create acrimony with one of your young stars immediately after he has proven to be incredibly valuable in a championship race, especially when the front office has a checkered history when it comes to this kind of thing. things ?
Ayton has been spectacular for Phoenix during the playoffs. He increased his scoring average, rebounding average and field goal percentage in the playoffs. Perhaps most importantly, he has proven that after an eventful start to his career, he can not only stay on the pitch during high-leverage times, but he can thrive. Ayton was instrumental in the Suns’ success, affecting games with his energy on both ends of the pitch and competently defending All-Star greats such as Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokić and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
If there’s one small hole in Ayton’s max case, it’s the talent he’s surrounded by. The Big Man isn’t a hitmaker, and much of his offense depends on the genius of Paul and Devin Booker. It can be hard to imagine giving superstar money in a capped league to someone who isn’t a natural 20 point scorer, but Ayton’s willingness to stick to his role has to be. rented and not penalized. Ayton’s commitment to being a rolling man and defensive disruptor maximizes the Suns, and it’s a role not all crosses can play skillfully enough to stay on the pitch in the dying minutes of a game. final.
Sarver’s reputation, as well as his team’s future, could be at stake here. The Suns weren’t a well-regarded franchise until James Jones took over as front office manager. And pinching a dime when the team was only two games away from an NBA title is doubly frustrating, especially for fans who remember when the team left eventual All-Star Joe Johnson moving away from an aspiring competitor in 2005, also for financial reasons.
Small markets cannot have it both ways. They can’t denounce players who don’t want to sign with them in favor of the big cities, be upset when players ask to go out, but not keep their talent at fair market value. Sarver has to pay. This is the price to pay to try to win championships. It’s not just Ayton, it’s also Mikal Bridges, another 2018 rookie who is eligible for the expansion and is one of the best 3-and-D wings in the league. Sarver should watch what the Nuggets have done, unflinchingly awarding contracts to Jokić, Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr. and Aaron Gordon as they attempt to lock down their title race core. In the case of the Suns, what’s the point of acquiring all this talent if we don’t want to keep it together?
It’s just a bad deal. No need to sow distrust Ayton. There is no need to get agents and league players to re-learn about your franchise for the wrong reasons. And it doesn’t make sense not to want to lock up a core of Ayton, Booker, and Bridges, three 20-plus-year-old building blocks who could be a force in the West for the rest of this decade. (A quick glance at the cover sheet would also let you know that Phoenix has very little money committed beyond the next two seasons.)
This situation will not necessarily end badly. The extension deadline is only October 18. And in the worst case scenario, the Suns can match any deals Ayton or Bridges signed next summer. Yet at a time when player-management relations are perhaps more fragile than ever, why the Suns want to drag this out is a puzzle at best. On the contrary, Phoenix has a rare golden opportunity to secure long-term commitments from players who can form the basis of a championship team. If Robert Sarver doesn’t want to pay for it, then he doesn’t want to win.
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