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Phoenix Suns had no other choice than to bring Deandre Ayton back

Posted on July 16, 2022

The Phoenix Suns had no other choice than to match the Deandre Ayton offer sheet, but it’s far from a bad situation.

When it was reported that the Indiana Pacers had signed Deandre Ayton to a max offer sheet, it quickly became clear that the Phoenix Suns didn’t have any other option but to match the contract offer.

The repercussions of that decision, though, sent shockwaves to the rest of the league. For the Suns, it basically took them out of the Kevin Durant sweepstakes. Especially considering that Ayton was going to be a key part of that trade offer.

Ayton can’t be traded until Jan 15 and has a no-trade clause for one season. That will essentially take the Suns out of any big moves remaining this offseason – of course, unless they’re willing to trade Chris Paul, but that remains highly unlikely.

Additionally, you can’t help but feel for the Pacers who were left without a dance partner. After mere hours of agreeing to an offer sheet, the Pacers lost their man.

After failing to agree to a contract extension last summer with Ayton, which ironically would’ve solved a lot of the issues they’re facing now, the Suns had no other choice than to match the offer.

Losing Ayton for nothing this offseason would’ve been a colossal disaster. There’s no way the Suns could’ve allowed that to happen. And after failing to agree to a sign-and-trade deal with the Pacers, the writing was on the wall for Phoenix and Ayton.

But, make no mistake. This is not all doom and gloom for the Suns. Phoenix may not believe Ayton to be a max player, but that doesn’t mean he’s not good. He’s really good. Ayton is an all-star capable player that is still rising as a prospect.

Ayton will be just 24 years old by the time next season begins and there’s a good chance he has yet to play his best brand of basketball. Now that he’s back with the Suns, they’ll be able to pick up where they left off last season.

Even though they’ve ended the season on a sour note in each of the past two postseasons, the Suns have won 51 games (in a shortened 72-game season) and 64 games respectively in the last two regular seasons.

And two of their top 3 players are still growing as individuals. That should bode well moving forward for a team that also has a really good supporting cast and the NBA’s Coach of the Year.

Phoenix may have had bigger plans for the offseason, but running it back was never a terrible option for the Suns. And that’s exactly what they’re destined to do heading into next season.