The Phoenix Suns have come so far in the last three years.
It felt as if just yesterday the Suns made the run in the NBA's bubble to finish the season. The following year, the Suns were just two games away from winning the NBA Finals before falling short to the Milwaukee Bucks.
This past season saw Phoenix set franchise marks in categories such as regular season wins (64) before grabbing the west's No. 1 seed for the postseason.
These are the better days that many fans across the Valley have hoped for. Yet with those goals being hit, the expectations for the Suns have only been heightened for a championship moving forward.
The Suns have made strides as an organization, but also have so far left to go after crashing and burning to the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the playoffs.
Conversations will continue to be had around Phoenix's core group of players as we transition into the offseason. Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton are just some of the key players for the Suns that carry intrigue moving forward.
While Paul and Booker are under contract for the foreseeable future, Ayton particularly has a curious case as a restricted free agent. The Suns will have first rights to match any offers for Ayton, but multiple insiders for the NBA have gone on record to say many teams throughout the league are interested in obtaining the center.
It's a trio that's had success, but not quite enough to satisfy the taste of Phoenix basketball supporters. That's what comes with success.
Suns general manager James Jones knows that very well, and when he spoke with reporters, the mentality of this offseason became clear: There's no intentions of blowing this thing up.
“I’m not going to change my approach to team building, which is to create and construct a team that has a ton of depth, a ton of skill and great chemistry,” Jones said. “We just need to be better and I think after a summer where our guys improve, we will be.
“As far as free agency and those things, we’ll address them at the proper time. That happens in July/end of June, but we want to continue to keep our consistency and continuity, and keep the guys that we have and continue to help those guys improve upon the things that we did this year.”
As far as Ayton's future is concerned, Jones was cautious in his approach to reporters after conceding he's played a big role in elevating the Suns in recent memory.
“Deandre had an amazing season, and he’s progressed every year and improved every year he’s been here, so he’s a big part of what we do,” Jones said. “His future with us is something we’ll address at the proper time, which is in the future. He’s a free agent and I’ve said all along, he’s about the same things we’re about, which is winning. We’ll address it at the proper time.”
There's a clear goal for Jones, and that's to keep the same core of guys in Phoenix. Whether or not that's feasible is, for what Jones relayed, a topic for the future.