Deandre Ayton played such a huge role in the Phoenix Suns' run to the NBA Finals last season, averaging 15.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game in the postseason. And yet, there's no guarantee that he'll stick around with the franchise for the long haul.
According to ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Suns are reluctant to offer Ayton a maximum rookie contract extension.
Ayton, who was selected by the Suns with the first pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, reportedly has no intention of signing a deal that's less than the max.
Shortly after Wojnarowski reported this story, the NBA world criticized Phoenix's front office. Fans around the country believe Ayton deserves a max extension similar to the ones that Luke Doncic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Michael Porter Jr. received.
"Pay that man," Jesse Washington of ESPN's The Undefeated said. "Ayton held NBA Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to 53% shooting as the primary defender in the Finals, while Antetokounmpo shot 70% against the rest of the Suns."
"Suns got no real reason to mess around here," NBA writer Josh Eberley wrote.
If the Suns do end up giving out a max contract to Ayton, that could result in another key player leaving town in the near future. Unfortunately, that's the price you have to pay in order to keep a championship core intact.
"Things will definitely get complicated with the Suns and their salary cap," an NBA fan said. "Ayton wants a max, and Mikal Bridges will also be wanting a deal in the neighborhood of that kind of money. Pair both with Booker’s and Paul’s big deals and things can get really expensive."
Ayton is eligible for a five-year, $172.5 million extension. That deal could shoot up to $207 million with certain incentives, but that's only if the Suns are willing to put that offer on the table.
Do you think the Suns should give Ayton a max contract?