After what felt like the longest dead period in the news cycle, we have movement. Woj reported Thursday afternoon that the Indiana Pacers agreed to a 4-year/$133 million max offer sheet with Phoenix Suns big man Deandre Ayton.
RFA center Deandre Ayton has agreed to a four-year, $133M maximum offer sheet with the Indiana Pacers, his agents Nima Namakian (Innovate Sports) and Bill Duffy (BDA Sports + WME Sports) tell ESPN. The Phoenix Suns have 48 hours to match the largest offer sheet in NBA history.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 14, 2022
The Suns will have 48 hours to match, though the wording of Woj’s story on ESPN.com is a little suspicious. Woj says Ayton “is signing” the offer sheet, meaning he hasn’t yet, and that the Suns aren’t on the clock yet. Phoenix may still be able to work out a last-minute sign-and-trade deal with Indiana.
Woj added clarity on NBA Today shortly thereafter, explaining that Ayton hasn’t signed it yet, but is expected to at some point on Thursday and made sure to note that there’s still time to work out a sign-and-trade.
ESPN’s Bobby Marks contributed as well that the offer sheet will be signed at midnight eastern — 9 p.m. AZ time — and so that’s the window for a trade to get done.
Because the clock to match doesn’t start until midnight, both sides still have time work out a sign-and-trade before the offer sheet is officially signed. https://t.co/fFKwY4FAuG— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 14, 2022
If the offer sheet is signed, the ripple effects will be massive, so let’s get ready for #IFszn.
If the Suns match, they can’t move Ayton until Jan. 15, 2023, when he could be traded to any team that isn’t Indiana. The Pacers can only trade for Ayton after a year post-match.
If the offer sheet is agreed to and officially signed, then any Kevin Durant trade would pretty much have to include Mikal Bridges, which would just break my heart.
It’s going to be a lot of waiting around and seeing for the immediate future, but two things are for certain:
- Indiana didn’t have the space to do this outright at the start of Thursday. They need to make some cap space, so if the offer sheet is really coming, be on the lookout for a salary dump type of move from the Pacers.
- If the Suns let Ayton go for nothing, it is malpractice and we should all point and laugh at James Jones. But we don’t have to worry about that, because he’ll match an offer sheet.
Woj also reported news of the salary dump Indiana needed to make in order to have room for the max offer sheet, including the waiving of Duane Washington Jr., who I wouldn’t mind in Phoenix on a two-way deal.
The Pacers are waiving guard Duane Washington and waiving and stretching the three players who arrived in the Boston trade for Malcolm Brogdon: Malik Fitts, Juwan Morgan and Nik Stauskas, sources tell ESPN. That'll create the cap space to sign Ayton to the max offer sheet.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 14, 2022
Seems like the offer sheet is really going through at this point, and Woj expects the Suns will match:
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