Brian Windhorst on Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns Devin Booker Kevin Durant (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns Devin Booker Kevin Durant (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns fans would love to believe that the franchise could be in the running for superstar Kevin Durant. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has an opinion.

Phoenix Suns fans want him; Dan Bickley wants him; no doubt that the players want him; but on Monday, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, on Arizona Sports 98.7’s Bickley and Marotta, basically threw out the idea of Kevin Durant even considering the Suns as a free agent destination like a bakery throws out day old bagels.

His short answer to the idea is “no.”

Actually, that was his only answer. No explanation was needed.

Suns fans would love to believe that with Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, coupled with a potential additional star in the draft and a number of other moves throughout the offseason (and now the addition of Monty Williams as head coach), that Phoenix will once again become a free agency destination – the kind that was regularly at the top of the list on many stars’ short lists for many years.

But while Kevin Durant is the biggest of the big fish that will potentially be available as an unrestricted free agent this summer, he isn’t likely to even give the Phoenix Suns more than a “thanks, but no thanks” kind of response to a call from anyone within the organization

Obviously this is too bad, as the addition of Durant would immediately make the Phoenix Suns an immediate playoff team, and even a Conference Finals contender.

Then once there, who knows.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Phoenix Suns

If Durant does want to leave the Golden State Warriors, as many predict he will, in an effort to resurrect his image by joining a franchise where he can be the face of Championship runs, the Phoenix Suns seem like the ultimate situation:

He’d be the face of Phoenix – even with Booker and Ayton – and be received with a hero’s welcome, much like the 1992 acquisition of Charles Barkley.

While fans would have championship expectations (and if he won one, he’d be the franchise’s greatest hero), since the Suns have never experienced a title run, even if he ultimately was to fall short, in the eyes of most, it wouldn’t diminish the accomplishments of making the franchise both relevant and competitive again.

Because of that, while expectations would be high – and his personal ambition even higher – the pressure would be relatively low. Nobody holds Connie Hawkins, Paul Westphal, Tom Chambers, Kevin Johnson, Charles Barkley, Steve Nash, Amar’e Stoudemire, or Shawn Marion in contempt for failing to achieve their ultimate goal. They are all to this day beloved members of the community, such an opportunity that appears to be on Durant’s list of wants when leaving his current situation.

The Phoenix Suns are young but relatively experienced, so the overall learning curve would be short for the core of the roster.

Granted they have no playoff experience, but Booker and Kelly Oubre are entering their fifth season, respectively; Ayton his second; Jackson his third. Presumably, unless they drafted Ja Morant, Phoenix will add a veteran point guard to the roster, someone probably closer in age to Durant, who can help carry the team and serve in a leadership position (one could wildly  speculate that if Durant showed sincere interest in Phoenix that they would immediately reach out to Kyrie Irving, but since Windhorst’s response was “No” to Durant, I’m not even going to dignify the idea of Kyrie with any additional thought).

With the core of the roster so young, the ability for prolonged success with Durant here is guaranteed with Booker and Josh Jackson still only 22, Ayton 20, and Oubre 23. That core could hypothetically remain intact for over a decade – much like the Warriors in their current form – giving Durant all the time he would want or need to achieve whatever additional goals besides titles he wants.

In the end, Brian Windhorst does not believe that Durant will give Phoenix any more than the time of day, so the pro-Phoenix arguments (of which there are more) are moot, even if they seem to all point in Phoenix’s favor over other franchises and situations.

That said, Durant is neither the only impact player potentially available to the Phoenix Suns this offseason, and 2019 is not the only offseason in which the team might need and be able to acquire the services of a star to help push (or pull) them in a positive direction.

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Fans need to hope beyond hope that the management additions of James Jones, Jeff Boyer, and now Monty Williams, with a possibly (somewhat) toned down Robert Sarver, will make the Phoenix Suns an attractive destination for some of the league’s top talent again.

While Kevin Durant is not likely to be available this summer, there might be enough positivity surrounding the franchise now to attract good free agents who can help once again make the Phoenix Suns great again.