Fresh off leading the Phoenix Suns to an 84-80 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, Chris Paul transitioned from point guard to hype man as he began praising center Deandre Ayton.
Paul told Rachel Nichols' on the ESPN broadcast the Suns big man is due to "get him a bag this summer" after Ayton notched 19 points, 22 rebounds and four blocks in the win.
Marc Stein @TheSteinLine
Chris Paul just pointed to Deandre Ayton during his post-game interview with <a href="https://twitter.com/Rachel__Nichols?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Rachel__Nichols</a> and announced that the Suns are "gonna get him a bag this summer."<br><br>Like Luka Doncic and Trae Young, Ayton is eligible for a lucrative contract extension in the offseason.
The 22-year-old has been a force on both ends of the floor this postseason, averaging 16.5 points and 10.6 rebounds through 13 games.
Ayton is in the third year of a four-year, $40.4 million rookie contract but is eligible for a five-year, $168 million extension after this season, per Spotrac.
DEANDRE. AYTON. DOMINATION.<a href="https://twitter.com/DeandreAyton?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DeandreAyton</a> scores 19 points while tallying <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAPlayoffs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAPlayoffs</a> career highs in boards (22) and blocks (4), putting the <a href="https://twitter.com/Suns?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Suns</a> up 3-1! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ThatsGame?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ThatsGame</a> <br><br>Game 5 - Monday, 9pm/et, ESPN <a href="https://t.co/tovZKKCbpi">pic.twitter.com/tovZKKCbpi</a>
He's already proven to Paul he's worth that and more in just one season with the veteran point guard. Considering Ayton wouldn't hit restricted free agency until after next season if he doesn't sign an extension, it seems like a worthwhile play for both the center and the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2018 to lock him up long-term.
If not, the Suns run the risk of another team signing Ayton to an offer sheet it may not be able to match.
With a player who's clearly molded into a franchise center only just starting to figure out his abilities in the NBA, the expectations are only growing higher.
For Paul, it's. whirlwind of a situation. A few years ago he was coaching against Ayton in AAU tournaments. Now the two are one win away from reaching the NBA Finals.
"To see his growth, I get goosebumps," Paul said of Ayton postgame. "... I genuinely love him"
The guard believes front offices around the league may feel the same way. If the Suns don't end up extending Ayton for whatever reason, Paul is confident the center will get his money somewhere else.