The Phoenix Suns did not sign forward Deandre Ayton to a maximum contract extension Monday before the NBA deadline, ESPN reported, enabling the first pick of the 2018 draft to become a restricted free agent after the season.
Ayton was seeking a max extension to his rookie contract, which four players have signed from his draft class -- Luka Doncic with the Dallas Mavericks, Trae Young with the Atlanta Hawks and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with the LA Clippers, with Jaren Jackson of the Memphis Grizzlies reportedly getting one as well.
Jackson's deal -- worth a reported $105 million for four years -- came minutes before the Monday's 3 p.m. ET deadline for players from the 2018 draft class to sign salary cap-exception extensions with their teams.
Ayton averaged 14.4 points last season, his lowest in three seasons, along with 10.5 rebounds, but was key for the Suns in the playoffs, averaging 15.8 points, 11.8 rebounds on 65.8 percent shooting as Phoenix reached the NBA Finals.
As the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2018, Ayton's contract reportedly would allow the Suns to offer him a maximum extension of $173 million over four years. The maximum another team can offer Ayton as a free agent next offseason is four years and a likely $128 million, which the Suns would be able to match.
Last week, the Arizona product told Arizona Sports Radio 98.7: "I love Phoenix but I'm really disappointed that we haven't really gotten a deal done yet. We were two wins from a championship and I just really want to be respected, to be honest. Be respected like my peers are being respected by their teams."
--Field Level Media