The last thing that any NBA team would want heading into the 2021-22 season is a team that has disgruntled players. Most will single out Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers but there are others.

No name comes to mind right now other than Deandre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns. He was among the players in his draft class that did not get a rookie scale deal and such could play a factor in the team’s season aspirations.

The curious thing is that the Suns never really offered anything officially. However, Brian Windhorst of ESPN says that there were plans to pitch an offer to the first overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft.

The actual figures were not revealed. But a source claims that such a deal would have been for a shorter period, three to four years instead of five. The point here is that Phoenix never offered him one and the 6-foot-11 cager will be a restricted free agent next summer.

Of course, this does not mean that ties are irreparable. Phoenix can still match any offer from rival teams. It is possible that Phoenix just wants to see more of the 23-year-old in action and prove he deserves big money.

But on the part of Ayton, that is frustrating. It may take much for him to perform at the top level after being left out of big-money contract talks. So far, only Luka Doncic (Dallas, No. 3), Trae Young (Atlanta, No. 5), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City, No. 11) and Michael Porter Jr. (Denver, No. 14) have gotten one. That list was recently appended with Mikal Bridges and Landry Shamet also inking fresh pacts.

All Ayton can do right now is try and prove he is worth the money. The move could spark a fire inside the big man but his decision at the end of the season may be to move somewhere else.

Ayton is not the only one with the likes of Marvin Bagley III (Sacramento Kings), Collin Sexton (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Miles Bridges (Charlotte Hornets). All these players will have a chip on their shoulders when the 2021-22 NBA season formally opens.

Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns Getty Images | Justin Casterline

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