The Phoenix Suns were so close to an NBA championship that they could nearly taste it. They took care of the Los Angeles Lakers, the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Clippers to get the Finals to face the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks went on to win the series 4-2 and became the 2021 NBA champs.
The Suns Defy Odds
The Suns exceeded expectations. Although they were the second seed and had a record of 51-21, there were teams who were expected to win it all. Phoenix overcame the odds and did the unexpected. And it was due to their core.
Chris Paul and Devin Booker were a lethal backcourt, and the 16-year vet and rising star played like they’ve known each other for years. It was like a student learning from the master. Booker and Paul were the leaders the Suns needed, and even with setbacks (like Paul getting COVID), Phoenix rose to the occasion.
With Chris Paul returning to the Suns, the Suns’ backcourt remains intact. But what about their frontcourt? Could we see changes to their frontcourt? Are the Suns on the verge of losing their center? In other words, will the Suns keep Deandre Ayton in the long term?
The Extension Deadline Looms
The NBA’s contract extension deadline is Oct.18. It’s right before the season and gives teams a chance to secure their young players that are still on rookie contracts. Players in Year 4 of their rookie contract can sign extensions during this time and make some pretty good money.
The 2018 NBA Draft class is the focal point of this extension deadline, and some of its most notable players have already received extensions.
Luka Doncic signed a $207 million extension with the Mavericks. Trae Young signed a similar extension around the same time. No.1 pick Deandre Ayton is also up for an extension, and odds are, he’ll receive one. However, he may not get the extensions his classmates are getting.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Suns are reluctant to give Ayton the max. Ayton has no intentions of accepting a deal less than his peers. And, the Suns’ hesitancy shows they may think otherwise.
Ayton is eligible for a five-year, $172.5 million extension but could receive up to $207 like his classmates. He believes he is worth the money, and if the Suns secure him, he could be a focal point in their future. But will that be the case?
Ayton averaged 14.4 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks last season. His stats were pretty similar in the Finals, as he averaged 14.7 points, 12.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.
While his stats were solid, Ayton has the potential to do more, which could be the Suns’ qualm with a max extension. But with a big man like Ayton, you have to take that risk. The Suns should secure their young big man, and if all goes right, they’ll be Finals bound once again.
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