DeAndre Ayton said he feels blessed after signing a maximum contract to return to the Phoenix Suns. The Suns had an option to offer Ayton a five-year, $179.6 million contract on July 1 but declined to do so. The Indiana Pacers offered Ayton a four-year, $133 million contract - which Ayton accepted.
Since Ayton was a restricted free agent, the Suns had an option to match it and decided to do so. "This is a blessing," Ayton told ESPN's Andscape in a phone conversation after signing his contract. "This contract not only has generational impact for my family, but also with the way we are able to work in the Phoenix community and home in the Bahamas.
That is the things that we go by. I've come to understand that this is a business. So, I was more anxious to know the end of the result so I could focus, move on and just get back to work. I just treated everything like a business.
Just keep being professional, approach everything with professionalism and not looking too deep into it."
The Suns excited to get Ayton back
The Suns didn't appear to be willing to give Ayton a max contract but Suns general manager James Jones claims the team definitely wanted the big man back.
When the Pacers offered a four-year maximum contract, Ayton didn't think much. Shortly after Ayton accepted the Pacers' offer, the Suns announced they were matching up that offer. The Suns feel Ayton is a key part of what they are trying to accomplish and that's why they didn't let him go to the Pacers.
"We wanted Deandre here," Jones told ESPN. "He's vital to what we do, at the core of everything that we do. And throughout this whole process it was, it rang true. We wanted to keep him here, and the moment we can come to an agreement, we would.
So, waiting 24 hours, 48 hours, that wasn't something we needed to do because going into it, we knew this is where he wanted to be and where we wanted him to be. I'm one to just be direct. And if you're convicted, if you know what you want to do, you do it.
But if there's any doubt from anyone that we wanted him, I think that the matching did that. It was urgent for us. It was important. It was critical for us. So, we just wanted to make sure that we handled our business quickly."