How Deandre Ayton’s return to Suns impacts NBA offseason

One of the most important free-agent dominoes fell Thursday when the Suns retained Deandre Ayton, matching the four-year, $133 million offer sheet the center signed with the Pacers.

Ayton, who turns 24 on July 23, was a restricted free agent after failing to sign an extension with Phoenix last summer. He averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game for the Suns last season, helping the team finish the regular season with the best record in the NBA. Ayton’s signing should have some significant ripple effects around the league, as he was frequently mentioned as a possible trade chip in a Kevin Durant trade, while the Pacers are still searching for an upgrade at center.

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