The Suns Have Two Superstars — And A Tough Retool Around Them


being new the boo echoed Phoenix Suns Owner Matt Ishbia shuffled from his courtside seat through the tunnel and toward a private room in the bowels of Footprint Center.

Mateen Cleaves, Ishbia’s longtime friend and guest for the night, went up behind his former Michigan State teammate and offered words of encouragement after the halftime buzzer rang on Thursday’s Game 6.

“Chest out! Chest out!” Cleves told Ishbia. “You’re fine! You’re fine!”

They returned to the seats at Ishbia, located around the corner from the home bench, and watched the rest of the Suns’ elimination games despite the result being a foregone conclusion.

Most others in the home crowd did not have so much patience, as many fans fled to the exits early in the fourth quarter, as Season-Ending 125-100 Blowout of the Suns in the hands of the top seeded denver nuggets That evoked some familiar and painful feelings in Phoenix. (eliminated by Sun dallas mavericks Ditto at home in last season’s Western Conference Semifinals.)

Suns coach Montee Williams said, “It’s two years in a row where we lost in an elimination game like this,” and it’s just a bad feeling.

sun superstar devin bookerThe only player to start both of those games had nothing to say after the blaze, leaving the arena without speaking to the media.

While Booker continues to rise to Suns’ contender status, a lot has changed for the team over the past year, most significantly Ishbia buys majority stake in franchise ending Robert Sarver’s reign Incompetent and inappropriate behaviour.

“We are going to try to win the championship,” Eshbia said during his introductory news conference in February. “We can’t win every year, but I promise you we’re going to try. We’re going to try to win everything we can.”



Monty Williams contemplates Sons’ abolition

Montee Williams shared his thoughts on the Suns being sidelined since the season following their Game 6 loss to the Nuggets.

Ishbia’s ambition and stated vision – which he supported by creating Blockbuster trade for Durant As the ink dries on a deal to buy Phoenix’s majority share of the franchise – it has created anticipation that this could be a summer of significant change for the Suns.

Some sources, along with other NBA teams, have expressed the belief that the changes could involve a restructuring of the Suns’ front office and potentially put Williams’ job at risk. In early March, Ishbia made a major change in the front office, Hiring Josh Bartelstein as Team CEO, Bartelstein, 33, had been an assistant general manager with detroit pistons Following a stint as the team’s executive vice president of business and basketball operations.

“Some heads are going to roll for this,” a scout for another franchise told ESPN at halftime, when the Suns’ 30-point deficit was similar to last year’s halftime margin. Game 7 loss to Mavericks,

According to league sources, the NBA is also considering whether chris paul And Deandre Ayton – Two players who were involved in Phoenix’s run to the 2021 NBA Finals but were sidelined for Thursday’s elimination game – will again wear Suns uniforms.

The challenge for Phoenix will be building a championship-caliber supporting cast around its pairing of superstars. Paul and/or Ayton may need to be moved for the Suns to address their glaring depth issues, which factor into the heavy burdens placed on Durant and Booker in minutes per game during the playoffs. are ranked first and second respectively. The priority is to surround Durant and Booker with quality players who complement them well, not add another perennial All-Star.

“We need to understand each other on a different level individually and as basketball players, and I think it will come,” said Durant, who played only eight regular-season games after being traded to the Suns through injuries. were limited by, Postgame said. “So we’ll see what happens. Definitely disappointing and frustrating and embarrassing.”

The 38-year-old Paul, who missed the final four games of the series against the Nuggets due to a left groin strain and showed signs of decline throughout the season, is guaranteed a little more than half of his $30.8 million salary for next season. . The salary will become fully guaranteed on June 28, and the Suns are expected to find out what they can get before making a decision on Paul’s contract.

The relationship between Ayton and the Suns has been awkward over the past two years, due to Phoenix’s reluctance to award Ayton with a max extension to his rookie contract. Phoenix was essentially forced to pay for Ayton when Indiana Pacers signed it Four-year, $133 million offer sheet as restricted free agent Last summer, nothing left the Suns with the options of matching the deal or losing the 2018 No. 1 pick.

The relationship between Ayton and Williams publicly deteriorated when the coach exposed the big man during the aforementioned Game 7 loss to the Mavericks and then refused to discuss Ayton during the postgame or the next day’s exit interview. Ayton revealed this at the start of training camp He hasn’t had a conversation with his coach all summer, even after signing his maximum contract. Sources told ESPN that Ayton’s teammates have seen their coach’s frustration with inconsistent effort and aggression from the 7-footer.

Sources told ESPN that Ayton would be excited about making a fresh start with another franchise. League sources said the Suns are expected to aggressively explore the trade market for him this summer.

Although Ayton had a disappointing series against Denver – bowing out down the stretch of the Suns’ Game 3 win and being frequently dominated by the two-time MVP center Nikola Jokic – League sources expect multiple teams to show interest in the 24-year-old, who averaged 18.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game this season.

“I come to listen, I learn humbly,” Ishbia said during that February news conference. “I’m a mortgage person. I love, love, love basketball. I love the business, so I think this could be great. But the next 60, 90, 120 days are about listening and learning.” are about.”

And the next 60, 90, 120 days will be about taking the necessary actions to maximize the Suns’ star duo’s chances of delivering the Valley its first NBA title.

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