According to NBA reporter Keith Smith, the Phoenix Suns have officially tendered a $16.4 million qualifying offer to center Deandre Ayton, one that will see the 23-year-old become a restricted free agent on July 1.
The Phoenix Suns have officially tendered a $16.4M qualifying offer to make Deandre Ayton a restricted free agent on July 1, a league source tells @spotrac.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 28, 2022
As an RFA, Phoenix can match any offer that comes Ayton’s way if it chooses to do so. The former first overall pick is said to want a max contract. However, previous reports stated the Suns do not see Ayton as a max player, which appears to be a sentiment shared around the league. If a team offered Ayton a deal close to the max, it would present a tricky decision for Phoenix general manager James Jones.
Ayton has been a steady presence in the middle for the Suns, averaging a double-double in each of his first four seasons. Where he winds up is one of the many intriguing storylines as we inch closer to the start of the league’s free agency period.
FanDuel Sportsbook currently has the Suns holding the fifth-best NBA Finals odds at +1000.