The Indiana Pacers are going all-in on former Arizona Wildcats.
Indiana has agreed to sign Deandre Ayton to a four-year, $133 million max contract according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Phoenix Suns have two days to match the Pacers’ offer, which is the largest in NBA history for a restricted free agent, or watch Ayton leave The Valley for nothing in exchange.
Wojnarowski reports that sign-and-trade deals are longer allowed once Ayton signs the offer sheet with Indiana.
“If the Suns do match the offer sheet, they can’t trade Ayton anywhere until at least Jan. 15 — and can’t trade him to Indiana for a year,” Wojnarowski wrote.
Ayton’s offer sheet is the highest in NBA history, per ESPN, surpassing the one Otto Porter Jr. signed with the Brooklyn Nets in 2017.
So far, Suns haven't shown an interest in negotiating a sign-and-trade on Ayton with the Pacers, but the expectation remains that Phoenix will match the record-$133M offer sheet once it's signed, sources tell ESPN. Suns could trade Ayton as soon as Jan. 15 once sheet is matched.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 14, 2022
Ayton would join former Arizona Wildcats TJ McConnell and Bennedict Mathurin (and possibly Gabe York) in Indianapolis. Mathurin, Indiana’s first-round pick last month, has been stellar in the NBA Summer League while McConnell is coming back from hand surgery that caused him to miss the last four months of the 2021-22 season.
Drafted first overall by Phoenix in 2018, Ayton started 229 games for the Suns in four season and averaged 16.3 points and 10.5 rebounds. The Suns declined to offer him a max extension last fall, making him a restricted free agent.