'Ready to get back to work': Suns re-sign Deandre Ayton after matching Pacers $133M offer sheet
Deandre Ayton's smile is a mix of excitement, relief and anticipation.
Phoenix announced Monday its re-signing of Ayton, a restricted free agent who received an offer sheet of four years, $133 million from the Indiana Pacers the Suns matched last week.
“I’m happy to put free agency behind me and ready to work and compete for a championship with my teammates,” said Ayton in a news release Monday.
By matching the offer sheet, which was the largest for a restricted free agent in NBA history, the Suns can't trade Ayton to the Pacers and he has veto power over any trade to the remaining 28 teams for a full year.
The Suns can't trade Ayton until Jan. 15, but only if Ayton approves it.
Ayton posted on his Instagram account of him signing the contract with his agent, Nima Namakian, president of Innovate Sports Group, by his side at the team's practice facility.
"PHOENIX! I grew up here, got drafted here, had my son here. We have the best fans in the world. I’m ready to get back to work with my brothers," Ayton wrote on the post.
Suns team owner Robert Sarver and General Manager James Jones were also present as well as Ayton's family. Former Suns backup big JaVale McGee, who signed a three-year, $20.1-million deal with the Dallas Mavericks, wrote "blessings" on Ayton's post.
McGee addressed Ayton's situation before his JUGLIFE charity softball game last month at Chase Field.
"I feel like he should do what’s best for him and his family,” McGee said “I feel every play should take that role of putting themselves first and doing what’s best for him.”
The 6-11 Ayton, who will turn 24 Saturday, has averaged a double-double over the course of his four NBA seasons.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft out of Arizona averaged 17.2 points on a career-best 63.4% shooting and 10.2 rebounds a game last season.
The Suns won a franchise-record 64 games in the 2021-22 regular season to earn the top overall seed in the 2022 playoffs.
“Deandre is a force on both ends of the floor, who has elevated his game every year and will continue to do so,” said Suns General Manager James Jones. “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.”
Suns NBA Changemaker of the Year winner
The NBA announced last week the Suns won the NBA Changemaker of the Year Award for the 2021-2022 season for their partnership with Footprint highlighted by naming the arena Footprint Center.
“Partnering with Footprint has enhanced the Suns’ efforts in so many ways. It’s giving us focus and allowing us to evangelize our commitment to sustainability beyond just our goals and Footprint’s goals,” said Suns executive vice president and chief revenue officer, Dan Costello, in a news release.
Based in Gilbert, Footprint is a "global materials science technology company focused on creating a healthy planet by reducing dependency on single-use plastics."
The award was presented at the annual team presidents meeting in Las Vegas as it recognizes "the best new partnership with an emphasis on an innovative approach in an emerging category."
NBA league executives and a committee comprised of team representatives from all 30 teams picked the winner.
“We’re honored to be recognized with the league’s Changemaker of the Year Award and look forward to growing this partnership’s impact on the community and the planet by bringing other businesses and fans on this journey to reducing single-use plastic,” Costello added in the news release.
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