Deandre Ayton will remain with the Phoenix Suns after they matched a four-year, $133 million maximum offer sheet he signed with the Indiana Pacers. Phoenix never made an offer to Ayton.
“This is a blessing,” Ayton told ESPN’s Andscape in a phone conversation after signing his contract. “This contract not only has generational impact for my family, but also with the way we are able to work in the Phoenix community and home in the Bahamas. That is the things that we go by …
“I’ve come to understand that this is a business. So, I was more anxious to know the end of the result so I could focus, move on and just get back to work. I just treated everything like a business. Just keep being professional, approach everything with professionalism and not looking too deep into it.”
James Jones said he told Ayton through the entire free agency process that he planned to re-sign him, including during a videoconference on July 1. James also told ESPN’s Andscape that it was “important” and “critical” to match immediately.
“We wanted Deandre here,” Jones said in a phone interview. “He’s vital to what we do, at the core of everything that we do. And throughout this whole process it was, it rang true. We wanted to keep him here, and the moment we can come to an agreement, we would. So, waiting 24 hours, 48 hours, that wasn’t something we needed to do because going into it, we knew this is where he wanted to be and where we wanted him to be.
“I’m one to just be direct. And if you’re convicted, if you know what you want to do, you do it. But if there’s any doubt from anyone that we wanted him, I think that the matching did that. It was urgent for us. It was important. It was critical for us. So, we just wanted to make sure that we handled our business quickly.”
Jones noted “negotiation” as the reason the Suns didn’t offer a maximum contract to Ayton. Phoenix saved roughly $43 million and an extra year of contract with the matched offer sheet.
“I’m not going to go into the inner details,” Jones said. “I just look forward. We had some really robust and good conversations. It ultimately led to him getting a max offer sheet that we matched.”