Over the last two seasons, the Phoenix Suns have enjoyed a lot of success in the NBA; at least, that's true for the regular season. The Suns made it all the way to the 2020-21 NBA Finals behind a strong postseason from Devin Booker and Chris Paul.
The Suns had an even greater regular season in the 2021-22 NBA season. They finished with the best record in the entire league. But this time around, they were eliminated in the Western Conference Semi-Finals at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks.
In both seasons, Booker and CP3 received most of the credit for their success. However, their star center Deandre Ayton played a crucial role in it as well. Unfortunately, it seems like the Suns do not recognize it and will be happy to let him go rather than signing him to a max contract.
The Suns are also using Ayton as a bargaining chip in trade talks with the Brooklyn Nets to acquire Kevin Durant. They could send a package around Ayton to get Durant. But it feels like their hopes could be ruined soon.
If Ayton signs a max offer sheet with any franchise, then they can't include him in any trade deals. On that note, NBA insider John Gambadoro has revealed that Ayton is on the verge of signing a max offer sheet with the Indiana Pacers.
"I do believe we are close to a resolution on Deandre Ayton maybe even by tomorrow. Indiana has the cap space and I’ve heard rumblings of them signing him to an offer sheet. I’ve also heard Toronto has some interest but I do not know at what level."
Gambadoro also revealed that the Toronto Raptors are also interested in Ayton. Regardless of which team provides Ayton with a max offer sheet, it will have an adverse effect on the Suns' pursuit of Kevin Durant.
It will all but confirm that the Suns will be knocked out of the race to acquire Kevin Durant via trade. The only hope the Suns have is if Ayton refuses to sign that max offer sheet. After all, the Pacers are currently in a rebuilding phase, and Ayton wouldn't probably like to compete for an NBA Championship at this stage in his career.