Deandre Ayton has always been in a tough spot in the NBA. He's had the "bad luck" to be in the same class as Trae Young and Luka Doncic and, him being the first-overall pick, those comparisons will always hurt his stock.
But, in reality, Ayton has been pretty good since entering the league. He's made strides as a defender and is still young, so it's kind of head-scratching to think that the Phoenix Suns are hesitant to offer him a max contract extension.
Coach Monty Williams didn't want to read too much into that controversy, though, and simply shook off the questions by saying that it's not his job to pay his players:
"It's not my job to pay a guy. If it was my job, everybody would be rich. I'd pay everybody. The cap isn't based on my heart. The organization would be broke, but everybody would be happy," Williams said in a press conference.
Ayton is reportedly approaching next season with a chip on his shoulder. He's ready to prove his doubters wrong, bet on himself, and get a big payday:
“All that blood and sweat and tears and the sacrifices our team made and you’re trying to say it was a fluke. It’s personal now. I have so much vengeance coming into this league. I’m fed up. That’s just my energy right now," the former first-overall pick told Duane Rankin of the Arizona Central.
Should the Suns not make him an offer, then Ayton would be free to engage in negotiations with other teams. Then again, he'd still be a restricted free agent after this season.
The former Arizona standout is coming off an impressive year, averaging 14.4 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game on 62.6% from the floor, and he'll be a big part of their core going forward if they manage to keep him on board.