NBA free agency 2022

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10:16 PM ET

  • Kevin PeltonESPN Senior Writer

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    • Co-author, Pro Basketball Prospectus series
    • Formerly a consultant with the Indiana Pacers
    • Developed WARP rating and SCHOENE system

What does the Phoenix Suns‘ decision to match the Indiana Pacers‘ max offer sheet for restricted free agent Deandre Ayton mean for them and the Pacers?

Shortly after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Ayton had signed the four-year, $133 million offer sheet from Indiana, the Suns made the decision to match it without using the full two days available to them. The move keeps Ayton in Phoenix but limits the team’s options for trading the 2019 No. 1 overall pick.

As with any free agent who gets a raise like Ayton did, the Suns are prohibited from trading him until Jan. 15. For the remainder of the next year, Ayton must consent to any trade and can’t be dealt to the Pacers.

Bringing back Ayton also pushes Phoenix well over the NBA’s luxury-tax line, a rarity for a team that last paid the tax in 2008-09, per Spotrac.com. That could mean more changes in store for the Suns and complicates their pursuit of a trade for Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant, who reportedly named Phoenix as a preferred destination when he requested a trade from the Nets.

Let’s break down the full implications of Thursday’s moves for the Suns and Pacers.


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