The Phoenix Suns are one of the latest teams to enter the 2022 NBA Offseason. Their season ended with a second-round 4-3 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. Now, rumors are popping up about Deandre Ayton and his future contract in Phoenix.
He signed his rookie contract with Phoenix in 2018. The four-year, $40,379,230 deal is set to expire, making him a restricted free agent this offseason (per Spotrac).
According to Bleacher Report, Ayton is shaping up to be a highly sought-after free agent. The news outlet reports that there are five teams interested in the center: the Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, Portland Trail Blazers, Charlotte Hornets, and San Antonio Spurs.
Ayton would undoubtedly become a key contributor to any of these teams. The center averaged 17.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in only his second year in the league. He was also a main reason for the Suns' success in the postseason.
The 23-year-old is expected to request a max contract from the Suns, which the team denied him last offseason. And, according to recent reports and rumors, it doesn't sound like he'll be getting the deal in Phoenix this offseason, either.
Ayton's inevitable departure from Phoenix has been brewing for quite some time. After the Suns' playoff exit, his agent discussed the reality of the situation. He said that “there's other teams in the league,” alluding to a potential move. Bleacher Report also noted that the Suns were open to trading Ayton ahead of the 2022 NBA Trade Deadline back in February.