Indiana Pacers and Deandre Ayton have signed a four-year, $133 million max offer sheet, Ayton’s representative confirmed to ESPN. There will be a 48-hour window in which the Phoenix Suns, Ayton’s initial franchise, may decide whether or not to match the offer.
A few hours remain until the clock strikes midnight, so the Suns and Pacers may attempt to hammer out a sign-and-trade deal before he does so. Before, the Phoenix side had been reluctant to offer the 23-year-old a deal with the team’s highest salary cap.
It was claimed that he sought one after helping lead the Suns to the 2021 NBA Finals, but Phoenix did not think he was worth such an expensive deal. It was rumored that he sought one after helping lead the Suns to the 2021 NBA Finals, but Phoenix did not feel he was worth such an expensive deal, according to reports.
Suns-Ayton: Is it over?
To keep Ayton at this price point, they must either match the offer sheet or risk losing him for free. Once he signed the contract, he was left with no other choices. If they start the clock, they can no longer negotiate a sign-and-trade deal with Indiana or use Ayton as a signed-and-traded asset in discussions for Kevin Durant.
It will take until January 15, 2023, if Monty Williams’ roster want to trade Ayton rather than losing him for nothing, and even then, there are certain issues they will have to deal with. RFAs have the option of rejecting any trade for one year after their offer sheets are accepted, and they can’t be dealt to the club that signed them until that time has elapsed.