The Phoenix Suns fell painfully short of their goals of winning the NBA championship this season, and that failure should make some offseasons decisions that need to be made soon even harder. Take for example the Suns’ situation with big man Deandre Ayton, who is set to become a restricted free agent by the end of the 2021-22 NBA campaign.

Has Ayton done enough to impress and convince the Suns to offer him the max contract he clearly desires and feels he fully deserves? There isn’t a definitive answer to that one for now, but according to James L. Edwards III and John Hollinger of The Athletic, the potential of Ayton leaving Phoenix and suiting up for a non-Suns team next season could be gaining serious ground.

The Suns’ soon-to-be 24-year-old big man, who was the No. 1 pick in 2018, enters restricted free agency this summer after Phoenix flopped in the postseason. Rumors continue to intensify regarding Ayton and his relationship with the organization that drafted him. We’ll elaborate on this below, but sources tell The Athletic that it’s “more likely than not” that Ayton plays somewhere other than Phoenix next season.

Live and breathe the NBA?

🚨 Get viral NBA graphics, memes, rumors and trending news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch Newsletter.

The Suns have some leverage here because they can match any offer from other teams to Ayton in case they want to retain him. However, keeping Ayton in the books would likely send the Suns to luxury-tax hell.

In any case, this is a situation is worth monitoring in the coming weeks, especially after the drama involving Ayton and Monty Williams as the Suns‘ disappointing playoff run came to a close. There are some signs that Ayton could very well be on the outs in Phoenix.