Phoenix made it to the NBA Finals two seasons ago and had the most wins in the NBA last season, but dark clouds seem to be keeping the Suns from entering this NBA season.
Here’s the latest on three Suns situations: Deandre Aytoncontract failure why Jay Crowder asks who starts at four now.
• Ayton ended up signing a four-year, $132.9 maximum deal and will return to the Suns earlier this season, but it’s been a rocky road. The Suns will not offer Ayton a contract extension of up to five years.his name continued to appear in Kevin Durant is a rumor peddler, so Ayton came out and received the maximum four-year offer from the Pacers. – which the The suns instantly aligned. Phoenix saved $40 million and a guaranteed year, but the process left Ayton a bit bitter.
Ayton blames the outgoing owner, Robert Sarver, a well-known miser as the owner (among other things, much worse things) — Mark Spears and ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne discussed on NBA Today (Real GM hat tip).
“It certainly made him angry,” said Mark J. Spears. “They told me it was Robert Sarver who didn’t want to give him this fifth year, he wanted to save money.”
“From conversations with people close to Deandre, I understood that he also thinks that this was the decision of Robert Sarver. And Robert Sarver will no longer be the owner. So there might be some healing going on there. But I know there were some resentments about this contract and how it ended.
“If they were going to instantly match the offer sheet he signed, why not just give him the maximum contract? Yes, it saved them a year and $40 million, but as someone close to DeAndre told me, “there’s karma in it.” Why do this to your first overall number?”
Shelburne hit the nail on the head: The NBA is a business, but it’s a relationship business. Not only did the Suns mess up their relationship with Ayton, you can also be sure that every other agent in the league noticed how it was done. It doesn’t help when recruiting players. A possible new owner, whoever it turns out to be, has a lot of work to do to change the perception of the franchise.
• Jay Crowder stays out of the Suns during training camp pending trade (which reportedly won’t be in Dallas). Crowder has started 109 games for the Suns over the past two seasons and has been a key part of their journey to the NBA Finals, so why did things take a turn for the worse so quickly? Mark Stein lays it out in his latest Substack newsletter..
Entering the final season of his current $10.2 million contract, Jay Crowder told the Suns he was seeking a contract extension. League sources say the Suns response message should have told Crowder that at 32, he’s no longer sure he’ll start or end the game early. Cam Johnson. This chasm between the parties prompted Crowder to look for a way out of the wilderness, leading him to mutual indefinite leave of absence from the team until Phoenix could find a trade for him.
While Miami is often mentioned as a fan, it’s almost impossible to arrange a trade that will suit both sides right now (probably at the trade deadline, but Crowder isn’t going to stay with the Suns for that long). Cleveland is currently a popular name in league circles when talking about the Crowder trade, and Stein also mentions the Milwaukee Bucks looking for PJ Tucker– as a replacement for PJ Tucker. But do any of these teams want to extend Crowder at 32?
• Trainer Sans Monty Williams confirmed what Crowder heard – This season, Cameron Johnson will start in fourth place for the Suns.
Johnson is shooting better in the table – 42.5% last season on three points – and more athletic at the moment, but Crowder has better defense, stamina and veteran experience to trust in the playoffs. The Suns can skip this when it matters, but Johnson will have a chance to prove us all wrong.
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Suns update: Ayton blames Sarver for contract, Crowder conflict, Johnson to start originally appeared on NBCSports.com