2. Not trading Ayton
The Suns had Deandre Ayton on the trade block this summer, but could not find a suitable deal (subscription required). Phoenix is all-in on winning a championship, so selling low on a talented young big man does not make sense. Can a new coach get the most out of the former number-one overall pick?
Ayton has been clear about wanting a larger offensive role, but the Suns swapped Chris Paul for Bradley Beal. If anything, fewer shots are coming the 6’11 big man’s way this season. The team is trying to mend the relationship, but that may not be possible without a prominent offensive role.
Ayton is the key to the Suns playing even passable defense. He anchored their team in 2021 as Phoenix advanced to the NBA Finals before falling to the Bucks. Things regressed on that end of the floor the last two years. Frank Vogel is known for his defensive chops, but he will need buy-in from Ayton. The 6’11 big man was unwilling to give it the last two years.
If Deandre Ayton refuses to lock in and causes tension in the organization, the Phoenix Suns will regret not selling low. The worst-case scenario is his trading value falling further, and the franchise is virtually stuck with an unhappy big man who is not helping them win.