PHOENIX — Dozens of media members gathered inside the Events On Jackson as the 2022 NBA season quickly approaches. The first question on anyone’s mind was in regards to Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver’s decision to sell the team.
General Manager James Jones was in support of Sarver’s choice noting this move brings closure to a long period of discomfort for the franchise and everyone associated with the team.
“It gives us a pivot point to continue to focus on raising the standards of our organization and to lead by example,” Jones said. “We need to continue to protect those that can’t protect themselves.”
While Head Coach Monty Williams echoed those same sentiments once he stepped up to the podium, afterward.
“Just a number of emotions,” Williams said. “It made me think about my own kids. Thinking about them living in a world where these things happen, that bothered me. There was a range of emotions that I dealt with, you start to think how this will impact the team and the community.”
DeAndre Ayton contract extension
This topic rightfully took precedence to start media day, but eventually, the focus also shifted to the other offseason chatter, including Deandre Ayton’s four-year, $133 million maximum contract extension. As for DA’s reaction to committing another four years here in the Valley, he was very short with his response.
“I was happy it was all done, I guess,” Ayton said. “I have been under a rock just working and leaving the rest in my agent’s hands, and I trusted my team. Why look back? I don’t want to take any steps back, I just want to move forward.”
Ayton cannot be traded until Jan. 15 and has the right to veto any trade during the first year of his new contract. While there has been no mention of that, Ayton’s lack of enthusiasm is a little jarring, to say the least. But according to the front office, they wanted to keep the big man here in the Valley all along.
"We were clear since day one that we wanted Deandre here,” Jones said.
As for guard Jae Crowder, he will not be attending training camp, which the Suns confirmed on Monday.
“We ended the season not knowing this was an outcome,” Williams said. “But I see it as an opportunity for us. Our guys have been in the gym getting ready, not knowing this outcome would be upon us. We have a deep appreciation for our players and families, and they will always be safely guarded publicly whenever something comes up.”
Minus Crowder, this year’s team brings back a plethora of talent along with some new pieces that excite the head coach, and it should for the fans as well.
"We do have some guys in our gym that have gotten us excited,” Williams said. “I think our fan base is going to be really excited when they see those guys on the floor."
Fans won’t have to wait long as the season tips off Wednesday, October 19, against the Dallas Mavericks.
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