NBA Exec: Suns' Robert Sarver Is 'Cheap' for Not Offering Deandre Ayton Max Contract

Adam WellsOctober 20, 2021

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 6:  Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns looks on during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers during a preseason game on October 6, 2021 at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns' decision not to offer Deandre Ayton a max contract has caught the attention of people around the NBA.

On the latest episode of the HoopsHype Podcast, Michael Scotto noted one league executive called Suns owner Robert Sarver "cheap" for not giving Ayton the offer he wanted. 

Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst, Ayton's camp "held firm" on wanting a five-year extension worth $172.5 million plus escalators. 

Wojnarowski and Windhorst noted talks between Ayton and the Suns "never progressed" to the point that a max offer was made. 

Since purchasing the Suns in 2004, Sarver has made a number of decisions that have drawn the ire of fans and raised questions in the media. 

In 2019, ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz noted Sarver leads the organization with "a heavy hand and heated emotions."

Arnovitz cited instances of Sarver yelling at players in the locker room during games, "baiting opponents from his courtside seat, and even heckling Suns players or roaring to the bench to yank someone from the game."

The Suns' decision to trade T.J. Warren to the Indiana Pacers for cash considerations in June 2019 led to many jokes on social media after Warren dropped 53 points in an August 2020 game against the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Coming off an appearance in the NBA Finals, Sarver did open up his wallet to keep the Suns' core intact. Chris Paul signed a four-year extension worth up to $120 million. Cameron Payne signed a three-year deal at the start of free agency. Mikal Bridges agreed to a four-year, $90 million extension on Sunday, per Wojnarowski.

Ayton's contract will hover over Phoenix for the entire 2021-22 season. He's set to earn $12.6 million in the final year of his rookie deal. 

One potential solution is the Suns extend the 23-year-old a qualifying offer next summer, making him a restricted free agent. Opposing teams will be allowed to sign him to an offer sheet that Phoenix would have the right to match. 

Ayton was instrumental in the team's run to the Finals last season. He averaged 15.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game in 22 postseason starts.    


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