The Indiana Pacers have made one of the biggest moves of the entire NBA offseason. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, they have agreed to an offer sheet with Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton worth $133 million over four years. The Suns will have two days to match it.
RFA center Deandre Ayton has agreed to a four-year, $133M maximum offer sheet with the Indiana Pacers, his agents Nima Namakian (Innovate Sports) and Bill Duffy (BDA Sports + WME Sports) tell ESPN. The Phoenix Suns have 48 hours to match the largest offer sheet in NBA history.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 14, 2022
The Deandre Ayton offer sheet is the biggest in NBA history. The Pacers making this move, whether the Suns accept it or not, drastically changes the Kevin Durant trade market, as the Suns were one of his preferred destinations. Now, they either lose their young center for nothing or accept a deal with him that forbids him to be traded until the middle of the season.
The Suns losing one of their best trade assets drastically harms their chances of making a trade for Durant. They could still keep him but would have to reconcile with the messy relationship they now have with him and accept that making a big trade to bring in another All-Star will be extremely hard.
Indiana, meanwhile, still has to make salary cap room to sign Ayton, who averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds last season. The 23-year-old’s interior scoring would make him fit very well with playmaking extraordinaire Tyrese Haliburton and sharpshooting wings Bennedict Mathurin and Chris Duarte. Indiana would have a very solid collection of young players as they look to rebuild.
The Suns failed to get a contract extension done with Deandre Ayton before the deadline and now may soon suffer the major consequences. They are stuck between a rock and a hard place as the Pacers hope to bring in another young talent.