DeAndre Ayton Feels Monty Williams, Suns Didn’t Value Him Coming Into Season | He Might Not Fit Into Franchise Plans For Future

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Prior to the 2021 season DeAndre Ayton and the Phoenix Suns failed to reach an agreement on an extension. Ayton, the 2018 No. 1 overall pick after one year in Arizona, became only the second top overall pick since 2008 to not receive an extension after his rookie deal.

NBA Culture’s Disrespect Of Traditional Bigs Continues | Suns Don’t See DeAndre Ayton As A Max Player?

 

The 2013 top overall selection Anthony Bennett is the other, but outside of being selected No. 1 overall their careers have no comparison. 

Following the team’s unexpected semifinals loss to the Mavericks, questions now linger as to what’s next for the talented big man.

Monday on “NBA Today,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski described how Ayton felt undervalued when the Suns chose not to extend him prior to the season.

“Going into the season, he did not feel valued by this Phoenix organization. They were not able to come to an agreement on his rookie extension. He saw the other players in his class, or many of the top players, get extensions. He wanted a max deal; he would not move off that. So now, he moves towards restricted free agency this summer, where now he’ll have some more options but ultimately, Phoenix can still match an offer out there and keep him if he signs an offer sheet with another team.”

 

Some of the players in his class who got paid were Luka Doncic and Trae Young, who’ve both led their teams to conference finals appearances as their team’s best player.

 

Is Relationship With Phoenix Salvageable?

For Ayton to feel undervalued before the season shows there was tension throughout the Suns’ team-record 64-win season. One in which Ayton went out and averaged career highs in points (17) and field goal percentage (64 [ercent), and 10 rebounds.

In the quarterfinals win over the Pelicans, Ayton averaged 21 points and 9 rebounds per game. In the series loss to the Mavs those averages dipped to 15 and 7.

In the Game 7 blowout loss Ayton played only 17 minutes and scored just five points. When asked why so few minutes for his star big man, Suns head coach Monty Williams gave a blunt response of “It’s internal.” 

This came on the heels of words reportedly being exchanged between Ayton and Williams after an early second-half benching.

 

 

Williams questioned Ayton’s effort and, per reports, rapper Lil Wayne, who had courtside seats, told FS1 personality Skip Bayless that Williams told Ayton, “you quit on us.”

There Won’t Be Any Shortage Of Suitors For Ayton

Big men with Ayton’s talent and skill set don’t usually become available this early in their careers. So teams will definitely be looking to add a promising big who hasn’t scratched the surface of his potential. Wojnarowski talked about some of the teams who could create the necessary space to add him.

“You’re gonna look at the teams with cap space, a team like let’s say for example, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Portland — teams could go out and sign him. “But also the discussions of a sign-and-trade, meaning teams who maybe don’t have the cap space.”

The belief is we’ve seen the last of DeAndre Ayton in a Phoenix uniform, but not the last of him performing at a high level in the NBA.