What is the fair value for Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges Extensions?


The 2018 NBA Draft was a moment of franchise change for the Phoenix Suns. After securing their very first overall pick, Phoenix selected center Deandre Ayton. Then the Suns made a draft night trade by sending the rights to Zhaire Smith and an unprotected 2021 first-round pick from the Miami Heat to the Philadelphia 76ers for wing Mikal Bridges.

Entering their fourth season, Ayton and Bridges have become long-term integral parts of the Suns’ long-awaited rebirth. Ayton’s continued development in both directions with efficient offense and expanding defensive anchoring capabilities already places him near the elite level of the big men. Meanwhile, Bridges just wrapped up a season where he shot over 40% on three points to go along with his already excellent All-Defense advantage.

After making the NBA Finals last season, Ayton and Bridges are getting closer to signing their second contract. The question is, when will this happen? On Suns Media Day in Scottsdale, GM James Jones said this about the ongoing contract negotiations for Ayton and Bridges:

“We will fix this when the time comes. “

Short and simple, as Jones likes it to be. Jones wanted to focus on training camp and not make negotiations with Ayton and Bridges a topic of discussion on Media Day. However, that’s not a sign to worry that the 2018 draft duo will eventually become restricted free agents in a historically bad 2022 free agent class.

What is the real value for Ayton and Bridges? Let’s take a look at the likely framework that will be inked ahead of the 2021-22 season.

Deandre Ayton = 5 years, $ 172 million (All-NBA escalators included)

Ayton is destined to sign maximum contract, especially after his night of coming out in the Suns playoffs. Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Michael Porter Jr. have all signed their maximum rookie-wide extensions of the 2018 Draft. Ayton will be joining them soon, but what’s the delay?

It is probably the All-NBA escalators that can be included in these contracts. Porter is the most recent example, as his $ 172 million contract could potentially reach $ 207 million if he made the All-NBA first team next season. That won’t happen for Porter, but the possibility is at least on the table. The same contract was awarded to Devin Booker during the 2018 offseason, which included a percentage increase on his new contract if he formed an All-NBA team.

If Ayton continues on his forward trajectory presented at the end of last season, he will become one of the Association’s most complete great men. Well worth the price of a max contract, enough to roll the dice on a bigger bonus if he makes an All-NBA jump.

Mikal Bridges = 4 years, $ 90 million

The price of bridges continues to rise as Phoenix waits. Bridges showed last season that he is an essential piece of the Suns’ long-term puzzle thanks to his glue-like characteristics. Not only can Bridges shoot three-pointers on an elite clip, but he’s also a one-on-one and team lockdown defender.

Bridges told local media earlier this week that he was regularly in the weight room during the Suns’ short break between the NBA Finals and the 2021-22 season. Bridges even admitted he felt stronger, and Chris Paul was quick to point out that the fourth-year winger was the most impressive player in training camp so far.

It would be foolish to expect Bridges to sign a new contract worth less than $ 20 million annually. As the third or fourth play of a championship contender, Bridges is in line for a massive pay raise.

The framework for a deal that benefits both parties in the long run is about $ 90 million or more over four years. $ 22.5 million a year seems like the minimum needed, and that’s totally correct from the Suns’ point of view.

The Suns are now entering a different stage in their team’s development. No more recruit-wide offers with great flexibility. Now, with three $ 100 million contracts (Booker, Paul and Ayton possibly) plus one close to that number as well (Bridges), Phoenix is ​​poised to build a lasting contender in the Western Conference for years to come.

Now we are all waiting until the extension deadline has passed next month to see what the real conditions will be. Even if the Suns cut it near that time, it’s a guarantee that the Ayton and Bridges Extensions will be locked down.


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