Suns General Manager James Jones Confident Deandre Ayton Will Return Next Season


This summer, Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton will become a restricted free agent after not getting any rookie max extension before heading into his fourth season.

The Suns can match any team’s offer for Ayton or move in a different direction and do a sign-and-trade package deal. However, in an exit interview with the media, GM James Jones addressed how much Ayton has improved this past season.

“Deandre had a great season, a really productive season,” Jones said. “I think across the board, when you look at what he did, he improved. That’s a testament to him and the hard work. That’s what you expect from a player of his caliber.”

Despite battling multiple injuries, Ayton averaged a double-double for a fourth straight season of 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds in 58 games. In this year’s playoffs, Ayton averaged 17.9 points, and 8.9 rebounds before the Suns were eliminated at home in game seven against the Dallas Mavericks.

During Game Seven of the Western Conference semifinal round Ayton was benched after playing 17 minutes due to a reported heated exchange with Monty Williams. Ayton was benched with 8:26 left in the third quarter. Jones addressed this issue as in-game emotions to reporters and said that this is something they will improve from.

“It’s one of those things where you’re playing an emotional game and at an emotional point,” Jones said. “It’s a game of emotions and feelings, and sometimes your feelings get hurt, and you process it, and you move on, but we’re adults. We’re teammates. We’re grown, men. Those things you handle and you move on and improve from.”

Lastly, when asked about free agency, Jones told reporters that he’s looking to keep the guys they have, hinting at a possible Ayton return. Jones has worked in the Suns executive office since 2017 and was a part of the decision to draft Ayton first overall back in 2018.

“As far as free agency and those things, we’ll address them at the proper time,” Jones said. “That happens in July, end of June, but we want to continue to keep our consistency and continuity and keep the guys that we have and continue to help those guys improve upon the things that we did this year.”

The post Suns General Manager James Jones Confident Deandre Ayton Will Return Next Season appeared first on SLAM.





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