Deandre Ayton will be a restricted free agent this offseason after the Phoenix Suns were unable to sign him to an extension.
"Going into this season, Deandre Ayton did not feel valued by this Phoenix organization," said Adrian Wojnarowski on Monday. "They were not able to come to an agreement on a rookie extension. He saw many of the top players of his class get extensions. He wanted a max deal. He would not move off that.
"So now he moves toward restricted free agency this summer where now he'll have some more options. But ultimately Phoenix can still match an offer out there and keep him if he signs an offer sheet with another team."
Teams with cap space could pursue Ayton, but the Suns could also participate in a sign-and-trade. The future of Ayton with the Suns was already tenuous, but his confrontation with Monty Williams during Game 7 casts further doubt on the situation.
"You're going to look at the teams with cap space. Let's say for example Oklahoma City, a San Antonio, Portland. Teams that can create enough cap space to go out and sign him. But also the discussions of a sign-and-trade...
"If Phoenix decides they want to get assets back for Deandre Ayton. They don't want to match an offer sheet and either decide to pay him that max, or allow him to leave for nothing, which I think is what they won't do. There will be a lot of conversations around the league.
"Deandre Ayton is going to get a max contract in the marketplace somewhere. Phoenix really has to look at the allocation financially of how they want to distribute salaries.
"The relationship with Monty Williams had been one of the real benefits. I think their ability to work together and build a relationship. It will be interesting how that season ended impacts this. It will really be one of the stories of this offseason because there are a lot of teams figuring out how to acquire [Ayton]."