Suns Owner Mat Ishbia Tries Really Hard to Sugarcoat Team's Roster Mess

Ishbia claimed 26 teams would trade rosters with the Suns.
Oct 2, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1), team owner Mat Ishbia, forward
Oct 2, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1), team owner Mat Ishbia, forward / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia really wants everyone to know he's not worried about his roster.

The Suns were swept out of the first round of the NBA playoffs by the Minnesota Timberwolves and didn't look like anything close to a contender. It was and alarming showing given the team's salary ledger and lack of draft assets. When he met with the media on Wednesday, Ishbia tried really hard to convince everyone the Suns' roster was the envy of the league.

His comments are below.

Ishbia claims 26 of the other 29 NBA general managers would trade rosters with the Suns. It doesn't take much straining to hear laughter from around the league.

Phoenix will have three players taking up a massive share of the salary cap. Kevin Durant ($51.18 million), Bradley Beal ($50.2 million) and Devin Booker ($49.4 million) are all on max deals. Durant's contract lasts through the 2026 season, Booker's new four-year extension kicks in this offseason and Beal is under contract through 2027 and has a no-trade clause. To acquire Durant and Beal in 2023, the Suns had to mortgage their draft future. They own their first-rounder in 2024 (No. 22), but won't have full control of their own top pick until at least 2031.

On top of those constraints, they also owe Jusuf Nurkic $37.5 million over the next two seasons, and just gave Grayson Allen a four-year, $70 million extension. There isn't a lot of room to make deals or add rotation pieces to a team that finished 49-33, was sixth in the Western Conference and got hammered in the first round by a younger, more dynamic Timberwolves squad.

Ishbia wasn't going to go on mic and trash his roster, but he's trying far too hard to convince the masses everything is great. The pieces don't fit together well in Phoenix. The franchise has collected three All-Stars who all need the ball in their hands and there's only one of them to go around. The Suns also don't have a point guard to distribute the ball and keep everyone happy.

Beal suffered the most from that arrangement this season, as he averaged 18.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 33.3 minutes per game. That was the 30-year-old's lowest scoring output since the 2015-16 season and a drop of 5.0 points per game. He's slated to make more than $161 million over the next three seasons.

Ishbia's dreams of creating a super team turned into a nightmare this season. No matter how hard he tries to convince everyone otherwise, the Suns have big problems.


Published
Ryan Phillips

RYAN PHILLIPS

Ryan Phillips is a Senior Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Ryan has worked in digital media since 2009, spending eight years at The Big Lead before joining the SI team in 2024. He also co-hosts The Assembly Call Podcast about Indiana Hoosiers basketball and previously worked at Bleacher Report. Ryan is a proud San Diego native and a graduate of Indiana University’s journalism school.