The 2023-24 NBA season unofficially got underway yesterday, with a whole host of media days taking place throughout the league. The Phoenix Suns were one such organization, with every player (except the injured Damion Lee) in attendance at Footprint Center.
The big players from the front office, as well as new head coach Frank Vogel, were also present for media availability, and the whole aura around the group was — strong. It is clear this franchise is in win-or-bust mode, and everybody carried themselves as such.
There was a lot more than that to dissect from a busy and entertaining day though, with the “Big 3” of the Suns officially together under the one roof.
That Devin Booker saw fit to wear Chuck Taylors for the group shots of the three only added to his already legendary status in The Valley. Media day was about much more than Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal however, with coach Vogel providing plenty of interesting insight into how he is going to coach this team.
It is clear this is going to be a long season, and the late moves out East (which the Suns ironically helped to facilitate) have only made the race to the Larry O’Brien trophy more competitive. But each of the role players here also said the right things, right up to Ish Wainright, who wanted everybody to know he is done playing around in the league.
3. Did Deandre Ayton request a trade?
Media day was missing one player many assumed would be there as recently as last week, with the departed Deandre Ayton present at the Portland Trail Blazers facility instead. It is not that Ayton was missed – in reality it felt like everybody had already moved on – but it was weird to see a situation that had rumbled on for so long, appear to be resolved so seamlessly.
Ayton dropped a hidden bombshell while doing his own press duties, alluding to the fact that he had formally asked for a trade away from the Suns. If this is the case – and we currently only have his word to go on – then would it make the package they received which was centered around big man Jusuf Nurkic make more sense?
Whatever your thoughts on the haul the Suns got back in the Ayton deal, if he had expressed a strong desire to leave, then the front office was absolutely correct to do this before media day. It led to a much more harmonious event for all involved, with the shadow of Ayton not looming over proceedings in any way.