Spurs Rumors: Hollinger hints at how Spurs might approach Deandre Ayton

Deandre Ayton Devin Booker
Deandre Ayton Devin Booker / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The San Antonio Spurs have some experience with dominant bigs, and a potentially dominant big man in Phoenix would be worth heavy pursuing. If The Athletic's John Hollinger is right, they'll be doing just that this summer.

Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver has an unfortunate track record for penny-pinching, and many believe he was at it again when he didn't offer Deandre Ayton the five-year deal he was looking for this offseason. While they're heavily favored to bring back their prized center, reports suggest he was not happy that the team didn't extend him before the season.

As constructed now, only a couple of teams can pursue Ayton next summer and sign him to an offer sheet worth his time. "You're looking at San Antonio, Orlando -- but they just signed Wendell Carter and have Mo Bamba," said Bobby Marks on the latest The Hoop Collective podcast.

In a column (subscription required) about the latest NBA extensions (or lack thereof), John Hollinger hinted at what a potential offer from a rebuilding team might look like. An offer would likely be a three-year deal with a player option after the second year, he says.

If that happened, Phoenix could block such an offering by extending a five-year "maximum qualifying offer."

"In that event, a rival offer sheet would have to be a 3+1 format," says Hollinger, meaning a four-year deal with a player option after three. Whatever the case may be, Hollinger emphasizes how much of a gamble the Suns are taking with their star big man when they could've just locked him up for five years right now.

"Jakob Poeltl isn't stopping [the Spurs] from dropping a sheet on Ayton," he concludes.

Deandre Ayton has averaged a double-double in each of his first three seasons in Phoenix and is coming off an impressive postseason in which he averaged 15.8 points and 11.8 in a surprise NBA Finals bid.

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Ayton's two-way ability as a 6-11 center would be the perfect piece to insert into a team full of two-way talent at just about every other position, so you can expect the Spurs to be heavily interested in his services all season.