Sunday, November 28 2021

The excitement in Phoenix over an unexpected Suns run to the NBA Finals has been doused with the wet blanket of failed Deandre Ayton negotiations.

With the Suns set to tip off their season on Wednesday, they’ll do so without their rising-star center under a long-term deal after talks fizzled on a contract extension ahead of Monday’s deadline to get one done. Now a public relations blame-game worthy of U.S. Congress is underway, with Suns general manager James Jones firing a shot at Ayton’s team on Tuesday. 

Jones spoke with The Athletic’s Sam Amick for an interview published Tuesday afternoon. In it, he chided Ayton’s representatives for their negotiating tactics — or lack thereof if you let Jones tell it.

Jones, per The Athletic:

“We didn’t have real negotiations,” Jones said. “You talk about conversations (with Ayton’s representatives, Bill Duffy and Nima ) — it was five-year, max extension like the other peers, the other former No. 1 picks, and that’s where the conversation started and ended. 

“Anything less than a five-year max wasn’t something to be considered — not something to talk about. It’s evident. They talk about us having discussions on a three-year, four-year max (deals). Those are real.”

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JULY 17: Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns reacts in the first half of game five of the NBA Finals at Footprint Center on July 17, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JULY 17: Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns reacts in the first half of game five of the NBA Finals at Footprint Center on July 17, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX, ARIZONA – JULY 17: Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns reacts in the first half of game five of the NBA Finals at Footprint Center on July 17, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The max extension refers to the five-year deals valued between $172 million and and $207 million (based on escalators) some of Ayton’s 2018 rookie classmates signed. Luka Doncic, Trae Young Michael Porter Jr. and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander all signed max deals. Ayton’s All-Star teammate Devin Booker signed a comparable deal with the Suns when he was eligible.

Ayton, the No. 1 pick in his draft and a centerpiece of Phoenix’s run to the Finals, believes he deserved one too. ESPN reported on Monday that his representatives stood firm on that desire as the Suns countered with discussions on three- and four-year max extensions. James basically confirmed that report on Tuesday.

Critics of the failed deal have cast blame on team owner Robert Sarver as unwilling to spend, even as the Suns have built a young contending core. Per The Athletic, the Suns haven’t paid the NBA’s luxury tax since 2010. The luxury tax charges teams for every dollar they spend over a salary cap threshold — a threshold Sarver’s teams are regularly unwilling to broach. Jones countered that the Suns are going to pay it this year. 

“We’re gonna pay it,” Jones said. ‘I can tell you, if you look at our roster now, all of the moves we’ve made — from Chris, Mikal, Cam Payne, Landry. All those moves that we’ve made have been to continue to build a team — a deep team. So we’re gonna pay the tax (and) continue to build a deep team.”

The lack of a deal doesn’t preclude Ayton from joining Phoenix’s quest for a championship this year, of course. He’s scheduled to suit up against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday with the rest of his teammates. He’ll just do so under with a year remaining on his rookie deal, under the pall that his long-term future in Phoenix isn’t secure. 

Without the extension, Ayton will enter next offseason as a restricted free agent. The Suns will have matching rights on any long-term deals offered by other franchises. Or Ayton could simply decide to sign a one-year qualifying offer that allows him to become an unrestricted free agent in 2023. 

They’re worries that will linger throughout the season that could have been negated with a long-term extension. For now, both sides are left with the option to blame each other and hope for the best next offseason. 

Source: Yahoo Sports

Previous

Unresolved and untenable, Ben Simmons situation puts 76ers in bind

Next

Lakers, Warriors settle on starting lineups for opening night clash, per reports

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

Pro Sports Media

Trending Now

Evan Mobley injury update: Cavs rookie planning to return from elbow sprain on Saturday vs. Magic, per report

Getty Images Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Evan Mobley has been out since Nov. 15 with a sprained elbow, but according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, he is expected to return to the lineup on Saturday against the Orlando Magic, assuming there are no setbacks in his recovery. That would put Mobley ahead of the initial 2-4 […]

Read More

MLB rumors: Alex Wood, Giants finalizing two-year, $20M-plus contract

Report: Wood finalizing two-year contract to return to Giants originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris made no secret of the fact that they wanted to get the 107-win Giants squad back together. They’re not wasting any time, either.  The Giants announced on Monday that they’re bringing Anthony DeSclafani back on […]

Read More

Wizards vs. Heat: How to watch, schedule, live stream info, game time, TV channel

Through 3 Quarters The Washington Wizards typically have all the answers at home, but the Miami Heat are posing a tough problem. The Heat currently hold a 75-71 lead. Miami has been riding high on the performance of small forward Jimmy Butler, who has 20 points in addition to five rebounds. One thing to keep […]

Read More