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Suns’ Mikal Bridges gets real on contract extension negotiations amid Deandre Ayton’s stalemate

mikal bridges suns

Mikal Bridges is one of two players on the Phoenix Suns who, as members of the 2018 NBA Draft class, are eligible for rookie-scale extensions before Opening Night. The other being center DeAndre Ayton.

Ayton, the former No. 1 overall pick who helped lead the Suns to the NBA Finals last season, has expressed his disappointment at not being offered a rookie-max extension yet. (Phoenix has already secured Devin Booker and Chris Paul on max deals.)

On Friday, Bridges — who was selected No. 10 overall in 2018 — Joined Ayton in vocalizing his dismay just a few days before the Suns’ season opener (Wednesday vs. the Denver Nuggets).

“I sit there, just wait every day, keep improving and don’t let it get to me,” Bridges said, via Suns reporter Kellan Olson. “Just gotta wait. I’ve tried to prove as much as I can as time goes on.”

“I just want to be here, man,” he added. “That’s what the whole thing is. I want to be here and it’s up to those guys. Deadline is close so we’ll see and wait.”

Bridges is eligible for a five-year, $173 million extension, including a year one salary of $29.75 million, per Spotrac.

The 25-year old swingman has averaged 10.2 points per game in his three-year career while turning himself into one of the better two-way small forwards in basketball. In 2020-21, he put up a career-best 13.5 PPG and shot 42.5% from three-point range. In 22 playoff games, Bridges averaged 11.1 points and 4.3 assists on .484/.368/.893 shooting splits.

Suns owner Robert Sarver is not exactly known for splurging on his roster, but he may be forced to front a massive luxury tax bill in order to keep his contending team together. (Fortunately for Sarver, the Phoenix-area housing market is booming).