The Phoenix Suns refused to offer Deandre Ayton a five-year max contract, which forced him to sign a four-year, $133 million offer sheet with the Indiana Pacers.
The belief around Ayton is that the decision came from Robert Sarver, who has begun the process of selling the Suns.
"That is certainly something that caused the ire of him," said Marc J. Spears. "I was told that it was Robert Sarver who didn't want to give him that fifth year, who wanted to save the money."
Ramona Shelburne added to the reporting of Spears.
"You know, Marc, you said something really important there, which is who Deandre Ayton in his mind attributes the idea that he didn't get that max contract," said Shelburne. "Does he blame Robert Sarver? Does he blame that front office? Does he blame Monty Williams.
"My understanding from talking to people close to Deandre is that he thinks this was Robert Sarver's decision as well. And Robert Sarver's not going to be the owner anymore. So there is some healing that can happen there. But I know there were some hurt feelings over that contract and how that played out.
"If they were going to instantly match an offer sheet that he signed, why not just give him the max contract? Yes, it saved them a year and $40 million but as somebody close to Deandre told me 'There's a karma to this. Why do that to your No. 1 overall pick?'"