Coming up short of making it back to the NBA Finals last season, a slew of drama followed the Phoenix Suns into this offseason.
Not only did they have to deal with drama pertaining to team owner Robert Sarver, who will be selling the team after an independent investigation by the NBA found that he engaged in conduct that violated common workplace standards that included racist and sexist remarks, but the Suns also had to deal with Deandre Ayton and his contract situation.
Being a restricted free agent, Phoenix had the right to match any offer sheet that Ayton signed with another team this offseason and that is exactly what they did when the Indiana Pacers signed the former first overall pick to a four-year, $133 million offer sheet.
Turning into one of the best centers in the league over the last couple of seasons, Deandre Ayton has been a key piece of the Suns championship puzzle. However, tensions between he and the coaching staff had been rising and many believe that Ayton no longer wanted to be a part of the Suns organization following their defeat to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Signing his new contract with Phoenix though, Ayton remains with the Suns and is preparing for what should be yet another season in which this franchise ranks amongst the top of the league in wins during the regular season.
At Media Day on Monday, Ayton was asked about his thoughts on his new contract and his initial reaction in which he gave a very brief and somewhat cryptic response to.
“I was happy,” Ayton stated before pausing. “It was all done… I guess.”
Normally, those who sign a nine-figure contract are usually thrilled and saying that they cannot wait for the season to begin, but this was not the case with Ayton and it almost seemed like there was a sense of disappointment in his response.
Now moving on from the drama surrounding Sarver and Ayton, the Suns are yet again facing adversity pertaining to veteran forward Jae Crowder.
It appears as if Crowder’s time in Phoenix is coming to an end, as he and the team agreed that the veteran would not be attending training camp as the team works towards finding a trade for Crowder.
Maybe this, along with the Sarver situation, has caused this “unexcited” feeling for Deandre Ayton, but from the team’s perspective, this is definitely not the type of response they would like to hear from someone they just invested a lot of money in for the next four seasons.
It is going to be very interesting to see what happens in Phoenix over the course of the next few months, especially since this team has what it takes to win a title. At the end of the day though, frustrations and cracks widening internally could prove to be the downfall of this franchise.