Phoenix Suns: 3 Reasons Why Deandre Ayton Deserves a Max Extension

Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton. Mandatory Credit: Elsa/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton. Mandatory Credit: Elsa/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton
Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports /

Why the Phoenix Suns Must Extend Deandre Ayton: Who Else will Play the Five?

As Phoenix’s main opponents, the Los Angeles Lakes, Denver Nuggets, and Utah Jazz all possess the game’s best centers, with exception to Joel Embiid. If the Suns want to achieve more playoff success during the coming years, then they likely need to go through these squads and their acclaimed centers.

While looking to do that, Ayton represents not only their best option, but only option at the five.

If the Suns fail to extend Ayton and let him walk, free agency offers no chance to add a center able to match that of their opponents. Bam Adebayo, Davis, Jokic, Embiid, and Gobert all remain under contract until at least 2025, leaving the Suns with zero alternative players to go after.

Additionally, the Suns do not own their first round pick next year. But even if they were to score on a talented center after the 2023 campaign, they will not only have wasted a year of Booker and Paul’s time, but possibly even more with the seasons required to develop whatever prospect they take.

This goes without saying, but Phoenix possesses almost no option to replace Ayton currently on their roster as well. Both JaVale McGee’s and Frank Kaminsky’s contracts expire after this season, and even if they both re-signed, they stand no chance stopping Davis, Jokic, or Gobert.

Jalen Smith resembles the only center under contract past next summer, and even though he possesses a notably high ceiling, choosing to rely on him while chasing a title feels like a foolish pursuit.

Next. Phoenix Suns Players Needing to Prove Themselves this Year. dark

The Suns simply cannot stay competitive without Ayton. If they fail to strike a deal, they likely spend their next four years as doormats for Denver, Los Angeles, and Utah.