Is McDonough’s firing inadvertently Devin Booker’s fault?

Phoenix Suns Robert Sarver (Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns Robert Sarver (Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Phoenix Suns do not have a traditional point guard, a situation that falls squarely on the shoulders of now fired General Manager Ryan McDonough. But was his release inadvertently Devin Booker’s fault?

Devin Booker does not come off as the kind of star who is a coach or general manager killer, and I certainly do not want to paint that sort of a picture.

If Booker has indeed in someway forced owner Robert Sarver’s hand in the firing of McDonough, information of such a conversation will eventually come out.

However, it is highly unlikely that that is the case and so I do not want to implicate him in that manner.

That said, Robert Sarver is the owner of the Phoenix Suns, the city and state’s professional sports crown jewel franchise, and as such, a level of pressure rests upon on his shoulders to attempt to maintain that glittering finish and build upon the respect that the franchise had built up under former owner Jerry Colangelo.

So with nearly a consecutive decade of zero playoff appearances, a notion unfathomable to fans only eight years ago, Sarver finally has his own young star to build around in Devin Booker, the player who’s very existence can help rebuild the owner’s currently middling reputation, an owner who has more enemies in Arizona than friends, someone who seemingly can never do anything right, or receive credit for those positive moves that do come to him, as few and far between as they may seem.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Phoenix Suns

With his perception understood, Sarver is probably going to be as extra careful with Booker as he possibly can, opening his door to him whenever the athlete needs to talk, taking extra care to pay and pamper Booker whenever possible, and even treating him with medical kid-gloves, helping to make sure that Booker never exaggerates an injury that is potentially season or career-threatening.

Sarver okayed a max contract for Booker this offseason making him the most expensive player in franchise history, then saw as his star was forced to have surgery on his shooting hand, a scary situation, regardless of the capabilities of the franchise’s superstar medical staff.

There is a weight and pressure on Sarver’s shoulders that fans cannot fathom, that heaviest part being the health, well-being, and happiness  of Devin Booker.

So when Ryan McDonough failed to acquire a competent starting point guard this offseason, be it via the draft, trade, or free agency, and the franchise inched closer and closer to a regular season in which the traditional shooting guard might have been forced to play point, Sarver probably worried constantly about the wear-and-tear that such a position change can play on his star player’s body, and decided that he needed to relieve himself of some of that stress, by firing the only man he can – the man he put in charge of putting a point guard on the roster capable of handling the reigns.

Now, this is purely speculative on my part, but the pieces are there, ripe for interpretation, and for an owner with currently only one star player, one who is younger yet as beloved as any other star the franchise has ever employed, the need to care for him at all costs outweighs the possible wrench thrown in the system with the suddenly and seemingly knee-jerk firing of the architect of the roster as it so stands.

Devin Booker does not give off the vibe that he would be a coach or general manager killer. He is both too young and inexperienced, and does not have the successful resume to warrant such a voice within an organization.

Plus, by all accounts, he is far too professional to allow himself to be tied with other non-championship-winning players who have pulled such stunts (*ahem* Dwight Howard).

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But Booker is still currently Sarver’s most sellable commadity to the fanbase at the moment, the only player who can make or break the current era of Phoenix Suns history, and taking care of his prized (and now incredibly expensive) piece of the future puzzle, outweighs the professional careers of everybody involved in the franchise.

Ryan McDonough might have bought himself another year or two as the franchise’s general manager had he made a deal for a starting point guard.

His inability to, which might put undue pressure on Devin Booker, was most likely his undoing.