The Phoenix Suns reportedly are expected to match the Indiana Pacers' four-year, $133 million offer sheet to restricted free agent Deandre Ayton, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The news comes within an hour of Wojnarowski breaking the initial news on the Pacers' historic offer sheet, which was the largest in NBA history.
The Suns have 48 hours to match Indiana's offer and appear to be wasting no time.
The Suns selected Ayton No. 1 out of Arizona in the 2018 NBA Draft. Over four seasons, he has averaged 16.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. He became a restricted free agent after Phoenix declined to give him a rookie extension last offseason.
The Pacers are rebuilding coming off of a 25-57 record last season. They had the cap space to add Ayton after dealing their starting point guard, Malcolm Brogdon, to Boston last week.
Reports of a potential sign-and-trade have been in the works for several months now, with the Pacers consistently emerging as a front runner. The creation of more cap space gave the Pacers more leverage to force the Suns’ hand.
Should Ayton sign the Pacers’ offer sheet, a sign-and-trade will no longer be on the table for the Suns. Wojnarowski reported that Phoenix is expected to sign him to the max deal with the option to trade him down the road. Matching the offer keeps Ayton in Phoenix until at least mid-January and means he can't be traded to the Pacers for at least a year. Ayton will also gain the ability to veto any trade he's involved in for a full year.