The Suns have exercised a pair of third-year rookie scale options, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the team has locked in the 2020/21 salaries for Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges.
Ayton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft, projects to have the highest cap hit of any third-year player in 2020/21, at $10,018,200. Bridges, the 10th overall pick in last year’s draft, will have a more modest $4,359,000 cap charge.
While both youngsters are viewed as long-term building blocks in Phoenix, Ayton is the one considered a future franchise player. As Charania notes, he has received rave reviews from coaches and players leading up to the 2019/20 season.
In his rookie year, Ayton averaged a double-double, recording 16.3 PPG and 10.3 RPG in 71 games (30.7 MPG). The Suns will have to pick up his 2021/22 option by October 31, 2020, then he’ll become eligible for a rookie scale extension in the 2021 offseason.
As for Bridges, he appeared in all 82 games for Phoenix as a rookie, averaging a modest 8.3 PPG and 3.2 RPG in 29.5 minutes per contest. The 23-year-old has the potential to develop into a standout three-and-D contributor, having averaged 1.6 SPG and made 33.5% of his three-pointers in his first professional season. Like Ayton, he’ll become extension-eligible in 2021 if the Suns pick up his fourth-year rookie scale option.
All the league-wide decisions on rookie scale options for 2020/21 can be found right here as the October 31 deadline approaches.