Phoenix Suns: Elimination from Durant sweepstakes could prove blessing in disguise
After being an early contender to acquire disgruntled Brooklyn Nets’ superstar Kevin Durant, the Phoenix Suns recent re-signings have put them in a tough position to obtain the two-time Finals MVP.
This was confirmed by The Athletic’s Shams Charania in his report outlining the Boston Celtics’ engagement in a potential Durant deal.
“After the Phoenix Suns matched Indiana’s $133 million maximum offer sheet to Deandre Ayton, the list of suitors for Durant became clearer. With Ayton currently unable to be traded, the Suns appear to be all but eliminated from the Durant sweepstakes”.
The Phoenix Suns’ elimination from the Kevin Durant sweepstakes may prove a blessing in disguise as the franchise builds around its young talent.
Would the Suns be better with Durant? Absolutely. But at the same time, they’d also have to mortgage a future they’ve worked so hard to build.
Phoenix were a rabble for over a decade, constantly missing the playoffs and failing to instill a stable, consistent culture. But after years of poorly developed and mismanaged lottery picks, the Suns finally struck gold with some young players.
Devin Booker is the franchise superstar who’s developed into one of the best two-guards in the league. Former number one overall pick Deandre Ayton is a high-quality starting center on any roster, while the Suns hit on versatile wings Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson.
All the quartet needed was a coach who believed in and empowered them, along with a veteran leader to guide the way on the floor. Once the combination of Monty Williams and Chris Paul formed, the Suns immediately elevated to championship contenders.
Three of those four aforementioned young players are now under contract until at least the 2025-26 season. Although contracts now mean little in today’s modern NBA (see Durant), that’s a clear indication in the reciprocated faith between players and franchise.
There’s value in building something from the ground up. In developing a championship roster naturally rather than ‘cheating the system’ to a degree by just buying the best available player/s.
Just ask the Golden State Warriors whose 2022 NBA championship would feel unquantifiably more satisfying than the two they won with Durant. Phoenix, Boston, heck the Warriors again, are all mulling the idea of mortgaging the future for a 33-year-old top 20 player of all-time.
As good as Durant would be for the Suns, they’ll remain a championship contender without him. If they are to rise past the championship hurdle and deliver a long awaited title, then completing it with their young core would carry a much more wholesome, emotional experience.