Deandre Ayton addressed the press release for the first time:
“I’m happy to put free agency behind me and ready to work and compete for a championship with my teammates,” Ayton said in the release.
After the Suns were defeated by the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals, Ayton chose not to address the media. Back in the third quarter, when Ayton checked out of the game for the final time, he got into a verbal argument with head coach Monty Williams; when Williams was questioned about it after the game, he responded, “It’s internal.”
Throughout his limited free agency, when rumors started to circulate that the Suns may sign and trade the 23-year-old, Ayton has remained silent in public.
On Thursday, the Indiana Pacers and Ayton reached an agreement on a four-year, $133 million offer sheet, which the Phoenix Suns quickly matched. Ayton entered restricted free agency after Phoenix and Ayton failed to reach a deal on a contract extension in October. Ayton’s draught classmate Mikal Bridges, a wing, and the Suns did come to terms.
The Suns made Ayton their first-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Ayton averaged 17.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 1.4 assists while shooting 63.4 percent from the field in his fourth season. He had a significant role in Phoenix’s march to the 2021 NBA Finals and their franchise-record 64 victories in the previous regular season.
Ayton, the No.1 overall pick in the 2018 draft has averaged 17.2 points on a career-best 63.4% shooting and 10.2 rebounds last season. Ayton was the most valuable for Phoenix last season’s dominance to the 2021 NBA Finals as Phoenix recorded 64 victories last season.
Suns General Manager James Jones talked about the perks of having Deandre Ayton in the squad:
“Deandre is a force on both ends of the floor, who has elevated his game every year and will continue to do so”. He further added: “DA is so important to what we do and without him we could not have reached our recent levels of success. We are excited to keep Deandre at home in the Valley where he belongs.”