Failing to return to the NBA Finals last season, the Phoenix Suns entered the offseason with a flurry of drama.
Not only do they have to deal with drama involving team owner Robert Sarver, who will sell the team after an independent investigation by the NBA found his conduct violated common workplace standards including racist and sexist remarks, And the Suns have to deal with Deandre Ayton and his contract situation.
As a restricted free agent, Phoenix has the right to match any offer Ayton makes with another team in the offseason, which is exactly when they signed the former No. 1 overall pick with the Indiana Pacers Four years of doing, $133 million worth of quotations.
Deandre Ayton has emerged as one of the best centers in the league over the past few seasons, and he has been a key piece of the Suns’ championship puzzle. However, tensions between him and the coaching staff have been rising, with many arguing that Ayton no longer wants to be a part of the Suns after their Western Conference semifinal loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
Despite signing a new contract with Phoenix, Ayton remains with the Suns and is gearing up for another season in which the team tops the league in regular-season victories.
Asked at Monday’s media day about his thoughts on the new contract and his initial reaction, Ayton gave a very brief and somewhat cryptic response.
“I’m very happy,” Ayton said before pausing. “It’s all done…I guess.”
Normally, those who sign nine-figure contracts are usually thrilled and say they can’t wait for the season to start, but that wasn’t the case with Ayton, whose response almost seemed to have a sense of disappointment.
Now moving on from the drama surrounding Sarver and Ayton, the Suns are once again facing adversity related to veteran forward Jack Crowder.
Crowder’s time in Phoenix appeared to be coming to an end as he and the team agreed that the veteran would not attend training camp as the team struggled to find a trade for Crowder.
Perhaps this, along with Sarver’s situation, gave Deandre Ayton this “unhappy” feeling, but from the team’s perspective, it’s definitely not the response they want to hear from someone they’ve just invested heavily in. the next four seasons.
It will be interesting to see what happens with Phoenix over the next few months, especially since this team has everything it needs to win a championship. At the end of the day, though, the growing frustration and rifts within could prove to be the team’s downfall.