Deandre Ayton Says Suns Contract 'Is a Blessing' After Rumors About Trade, Pacers

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJuly 19, 2022

PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 10: Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns celebrates against the Dallas Mavericks during Game 5 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals on May 10, 2022 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 2022 NBAE (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

Deandre Ayton is happy to have a resolution to his contract situation after more than a year of uncertainty with the Phoenix Suns.

The center discussed his new four-year, $133 million deal with ESPN's Andscape:

"This is a blessing. This contract not only has generational impact for my family, but also with the way we are able to work in the Phoenix community and home in the Bahamas. That is the things that we go by...

"I've come to understand that this is a business. So, I was more anxious to know the end of the result so I could focus, move on and just get back to work. I just treated everything like a business. Just keep being professional, approach everything with professionalism and not looking too deep into it."

The Suns failed to sign Ayton to an extension last offseason, allowing him to become a restricted free agent. After signing an offer sheet with the Indiana Pacers, Phoenix matched the deal to keep the 2018 No. 1 overall pick on the roster.

Ayton had been discussed in sign-and-trade rumors throughout the offseason, but he now remains with the team that drafted him and a legitimate contender going into 2022-23.

"I'm happy," he added. "The process is over. I put all this behind me and focus on chasing a championship this upcoming season with my brothers."

The Suns had the best record in the NBA last year at 64-18, although they had a disappointing end in the playoffs with a second-round loss to the Dallas Mavericks. It came after falling two wins short of an NBA title in 2021.

There will still be high expectations with much of the roster now returning, including Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Mikal Bridges.

Ayton is coming off a productive year averaging 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game while shooting a career-high 63.4 percent from the field. It's his fourth straight season averaging a double-double since entering the league.