Phoenix Suns matched a four-year, $133 million Indiana Pacers offer sheet for restricted free agent position Dender Eatonpaving the way for him to return to the franchise, his agents, Bill Duffy and Nima Namakian, told ESPN Thursday night.
The Suns had until 11:59 p.m. ET on Saturday to match the biggest bidding card in NBA history, but matched it immediately and finished off the Pacers’ pursuit of the Eaton.
Sources said Phoenix showed no inclination to negotiate a signing and trade agreement with Indiana before Eaton signed the paper, indicating that the Suns would likely match the offer paper once it was presented to them. If the Suns don’t match, they will lose Ayton, the #1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, for nothing.
Suns cannot trade with Ayton until January 15th – nor can they trade it for an entire year without his consent. This takes Ayton out of any potential casual trading scenario involving the Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant.
Namakian of Innovate Sports and Duffy of BDA Sports and WME insisted to The Suns that they could find the maximum contract offer for Ayton on the market, and they handed it over with the bid sheet. The Suns never made a max bid to Ayton, indicating that they didn’t value him as a max player.
The biggest presentation paper signed by a team that wasn’t matched was when Harrison Barnes He was signed by the Dallas Mavericks for four years and $94.4 million in 2016, the same summer when Barnes’ former team, the Golden State Warriors, signed Durant as a free agent.
Eaton was excited about the possibility of pairing up with a talented young goalkeeper Therese Halliburton And it became a key component of the Pacers’ rebuilding team, sources told ESPN.
Indiana trading Malcolm Brogdon Earlier this offseason and Dumantas Sabonis Last season, moving into a new era centered around an exciting young backyard for Halliburton, a rising and rising star Benedict Mathurinthe sixth pick in the NBA draft last month.
The Pacers needed to take out $4.7 million from the cap space to sign iTunes on the maximum bid paper. To do so, Indiana waived the guard Duane Washington And he waived and extended the three players who arrived in the Boston deal for Brugdon: Malik FitsAnd the Joan Morgan And the Nick Stuskassources told ESPN.
Ayton, who turns 24 next week, is drafted with the first pick in the 2018 draft from Arizona, part of a star-studded draft class that also included Luka Doncic (Third), Garen Jackson Jr.. (the fourth) , Tra Young (V) and gilgus alexander tea (eleventh).
After forming his first All-Rookie team in 2019, Ayton developed into a quality starting position, averaging 16.3 points and 10.5 rebounds while helping to stabilize Phoenix’s defense during her trip to the 2021 NBA Finals – the first time the franchise has reached to the league. Tournament Tour since Charles Barkley led the Suns there in 1993.
He averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds last season, hitting 63.4% from the field and 74.6% from the foul streak.
After a stellar regular season, he finished with the best record in the league, the Phoenix post-season ended with a solid loss to the Mavericks in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals—a game that Ayton spent most of the second half watching from the bench.
When asked after the game why this happened, Suns coach Monty Williams said: “It’s internal.” Meanwhile, Eaton refused to speak to reporters after the match.
ESPN’s Tim Bontemps and Bobby Marks contributed to this report.
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