Does keeping Deandre Ayton make Suns title contenders?

On Thursday, the Phoenix Suns matched the Indiana Pacers’ four-year, $133 million offer sheet for Deandre Ayton, ultimately keeping him in the desert long-term.

Suns match offer sheet for Deandre Ayton

Suns match offer sheet for Deandre Ayton

In a sudden turn of events, the Phoenix Suns are able to hold on to their star Deandre Ayton after the Indiana Pacers make a huge bid to obtain him. Chris Broussard, Nick Wright and Kevin Wildes explore whether this was a good move by Phoenix.

Ayton was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2018 and a valuable player, so letting him walk for nothing would have been tough to swallow for the Suns.

Because of this, Chris Broussard believes it was a solid business move to match the offer sheet and the best basketball move the Suns could have made to stay contenders in the West.

“I’m not picking the Phoenix Suns to win the championship,” he said. “They let me down. However, they are a legitimate contender, and without Deandre Ayton — I think they would have been good, they would have made the playoffs, but they wouldn’t have had a chance to compete for the Western Conference final without Ayton.”

Phoenix has the “Point God” in Chris Paul. It also has one of the most highly-regarded scoring guards in Devin Booker. But the Suns’ threat inside has been Ayton.

“They’re going to have to massage his ego and smooth things over,” Broussard said. “Because I’m sure he’s offended that they didn’t just give him the deal in the first place, but they showed that they value him, and I think all those things can be rectified.”

In Ayton’s fourth season, he averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds on 63.4% shooting from the field, including 36.8% from 3. Ayton also holds a 21.9 player efficiency rating.

“He doesn’t bog down your offense because you have to run a lot of plays for him,” Broussard added. “He’s got a nice touch on his jumper and he should keep improving. I like Deandre Ayton, and I’m going to tell you this [Nick], he came within a whisker of being on my Third-Team All-NBA as the center. I went with Rudy Gobert, but he was within a whisker.”

Broussard believes this was the right move by Phoenix, and the statistics back that up. 

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