The Phoenix Suns lost Game 6 to the Denver Nuggets, 125-100. Head coach Monty Williams and the Phoenix Suns have been officially eliminated from the postseason. Even with a depleted bench, Phoenix had a successful season.
Phoenix Suns Offseason News
They will now look to build on this success as they head into the offseason and prepare for next year’s journey. A journey they will have to take without head coach Monty Williams. He has been officially fired by Suns owner Mat Ishbia, who reportedly disliked Williams’ coaching style.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports:
“I’ve been told that Mat Ishbia – the new Phoenix Suns owner – never really took to Monty Williams from the time he was approved as owner. Right away, made the Kevin Durant trade with Brooklyn, which he largely negotiated and executed himself.”
Matt Ishibia’s Impact on Suns
Ishbia is the man running Phoenix’s basketball operations and all basketball moves must pass through him. This offseason is expected to be busy for Phoenix with Ishbia’s involvement. He is looking to re-establish the team’s culture and make the necessary changes to put the Suns in a position for long-term success.
The first move is to find the right head coach with the mentality to connect with the players. It was time to find someone else who could bring the team to the next level. A new head coach with a fresh perspective and energy who can drive the franchise in the right direction.
What’s Next for the Suns?
Monty Williams has a 219-130 record with the Suns in regular-season and playoffs. In his time with Phoenix, Williams cultivated a winning culture. Who led the franchise to a record-breaking 64 wins two seasons ago, including their first NBA Finals appearance in 28 years? This decision left many in the organization and around the league in shock. It was a controversial move by the Suns’ front office. Unfortunately, this may only be the first domino to fall, with rumors of Chris Paul and DeAndre Ayton on the trading block.
18-year NBA veteran guard Chris Paul has suffered lingering injuries for the past couple of seasons. The Suns have expressed their interest in trading him in order to free up cap space and make room for younger players. It remains to be seen what the team’s next move will be. But it is clear CP3 may not be a part of their immediate future.
Chris Paul’s Injury Outlook
- 2015 NBA Playoffs (hamstring injury) w/Clippers
- 2016 NBA Playoffs (fractured right hand) w/Clippers
- 2018 NBA Playoffs (hamstring injury) w/Rockets
- 2021 NBA Playoffs (right shoulder contusion) w/Suns
- 2022 NBA Playoffs (quad injury) w/Suns
- 2023 NBA Playoffs (groin strain) w/Suns
Chris Paul may not be ready to give it up yet, but father time is undefeated. He is now 38 and has been playing in the NBA for 17 seasons. His veteran leadership and skill have been invaluable in the Sun’s’ run to the Playoffs this season. However, his body may not be able to keep up with the day-to-day grind. The Suns will need to figure out whether he is worth the risk of keeping him with the organization.
Chris Paul had this to say regarding his future with the Phoenix Suns:
“Unfortunately, I’m not the GM or anything like that,” said Paul, when asked if he thinks he’ll be back next season. “So, we’ll see. It’s a lot of people who would love to be in this situation. To be able to play basketball everyday. I’m 38 years old. You can call it what you want to, but I come in, I work hard every single day. I’m not going to act like I’m here by luck. I put the work in.”
DeAndre Ayton’s Murky Future
As far as DeAndre Ayton is concerned, he has failed to perform in the playoffs for the past two years. Ayton has averaged 16.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 40 playoff games in his career. He has not been able to replicate his regular season success in the postseason, and his team has suffered as a result. It is clear that he needs to step up his game if he wants to stay with the franchise. However, his name has been linked to the Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers, and Charlotte Hornets.
The Phoenix Suns are expected to aggressively explore the trade market for Deandre Ayton. Who would reportedly welcome a fresh start after facing adversity in Phoenix?
General Manager James Jones met with Deandre Ayton this week. Reports suggest that Jones is looking to move Ayton if the right deal comes along. The Suns are looking to build around superstars Devin Booker and Kevin Durant. Both sides hope to reach an agreement that benefits all parties involved.
“IT” to coach Phoenix?
NBA legend Isiah Thomas is one of the names that have been linked to the Sun’s head coaching position. Thomas, who played with the iconic Detroit Pistons, has extensive experience in the NBA. He also has a long history of success in the league, winning multiple NBA championships and awards. It remains to be seen if the rumors are true, but Thomas is one person who could demand respect in the locker room. As well as having a positive impact on the team. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest players of all time, and his leadership qualities would be an asset to the Suns organization.
Kevin Durant’s Legacy
The “grim reaper,” Kevin Durant, has failed to return to the NBA Finals since 2019. While experts see Durant taking a step back, others believe he can still lead an NBA franchise to the promised land. Despite his prolonged injuries this season, Durant has continued to stay in shape and hone his skills. He is widely considered one of the greatest players of all time and has shown a willingness to stay with the Phoenix Suns for the long term.
Oklahoma City Thunder, the Golden State Warriors, the Brooklyn Nets, and right now, he’s playing for the Phoenix Suns. Four teams. 15 seasons. He has won a Rookie of the Year award, 1 MVP award, 2 Finals MVP awards, and 2 NBA championships.
Therefore, Kevin Durant has no doubt fulfilled his mission, but he is still looking to add to his legacy and prove to the world that he is one of the greatest players of all time. Whether he ends his career in Phoenix or elsewhere is up to him. However Durant has definitely cemented his place in basketball history and will be remembered as one of the greatest ever. No matter where he ends up.