Suns’ Monty Williams talks Deandre Ayton

Before the start of the regular season, Suns center Deandre Ayton was hoping to get a max extension from the Phoenix Suns. However, the two sides could not agree on a contract.

The former number one overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft played well this season. Like his previous three seasons in the league, Ayton averaged a double-double with 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds a game, including a career-high 63% shooting.

This season, Ayton had some big moments, including scoring a playoff career-high 28 points against the Pelicans in the first round, but things ended sourly for the four-year veteran.

In Game 7, Ayton, like the rest of his teammates, struggled against the Mavericks. In 17 minutes of action, he had five points and four rebounds. After the 123-90 loss to the Mavs that eliminated Phoenix from the playoffs, Suns head coach Monty Williams was asked why Ayton played only 17 minutes, and his response, “It’s internal.”

On Monday, at his end-of-the-season Zoom call, Williams elaborated a little more on Ayton’s situation. According to Williams, he has not spoken to Ayton individually and explained part of the reason he removed Ayton from the game for good with just over eight minutes left in the fourth.

“You guys know me well enough; I’m going to do everything I can to help us win games,” he said. “And at that point, with the lead where it was, I made a decision not to put him back in the game.”

At season’s end, the 6-11 Ayton will be a restricted free agent, and Williams said the team would figure out Ayton’s contract situation in the next couple of months.

“Deandre’s situation is something that we’ll deal with this summer,” Williams said. “I don’t want to say anything in regards to that.”

Ayton is one of the better centers in basketball, but you do wonder if he’s worth a max contract, especially after what may have transpired in Game 7 between him and Williams, which reportedly was an exchange of words as Ayton returned to the bench. 

However, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, there will be teams willing to give Ayton a max deal, so it appears if the Suns don’t pay him, somebody will.

At age 23, Ayton is still improving. He’s improved his shot and has been a walking double-double since entering the league. Based on what happened with the Suns this season and them not winning a title, there might not be a justification to pay Ayton, which means he could be elsewhere next season.

Watch below as Williams discussing Ayton and more.

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