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Ayton signs long-term deal to stay with NBA Suns

Deandre Ayton signed a long-term contract Monday to stay with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, locking in the star center who helped the club reach last year’s NBA Finals.

The Bahamas big man, who turns 24 on Saturday, reportedly inked a four-year maximum contract worth $133 million.

Ayton was chosen by the Suns with the first overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft.

Over his first four NBA seasons, Ayton has career averages of 16.3 points on 59.9% shooting from the floor plus 10.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocked shots a game.

“Deandre is a force on both ends of the floor who has elevated his game every year and will continue to do so,” Suns general manager James Jones said.

“DA is so important to what we do and without him we could not have reached our recent levels of success. We are excited to keep Deandre at home in the Valley where he belongs.”

Ayton averaged 17.2 points on a career-high and franchise-record 63.4% shooting plus 10.2 rebounds this past season for the Suns, who were upset by Dallas in the second round of the NBA playoffs.

He recorded both his 3,000th career point and his 2,000th career rebound this past season, becoming the second-fastest player to reach these milestones in a Suns uniform, behind only Charles Barkley.

“I’m happy to put free agency behind me and ready to work and compete for a championship with my teammates,” Ayton said.

Ayton joined Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal as the only players to average a double-double on at least 57% shooting through four career seasons.

He was pivotal in Phoenix’s run to the 2021 NBA Finals, where the Suns were beaten by the Milwaukee Bucks.

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