The Phoenix Suns just shook up their roster, as we all know. They traded away Deandre Ayton and Toumani Camara to the Portland Trail Blazers for center Jusuf Nurkic, guard Keon Johnson, and forward Nassir Little.
It was the trade all the rumors said would happen, but most Suns’ fans didn’t want to happen. And, I’m sure deep down there were some Suns’ players and staff members that didn’t want to see Ayton go either, but it was best for both sides. Now he could get what he wanted – a fresh start and to be the guy on a team, and the Suns could get a big man who fit their big three the best. They are all in on Nurkic.
When 2023-24 Media Day rolled around for the Suns, most of the questions were centered around Ayton, Nurkic, and the trade in general. Ayton dedicated a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to the Suns. He was one of the last guys on the Suns team from that magical 2021 NBA Finals season.
Now, he and Devin Booker didn’t get along the best, but they were brothers, in a way. We got a great response from the guy who represents the Suns to the fullest when he was asked his thoughts on the trade and Ayton leaving for a Western Conference foe.
“Just understanding that people might be in a better situation,” Booker told reporters. “I’ve seen Deandre get to Portland. He had a big smile on his face, and even when we shook hands before he walked out after the trade, you could tell his energy was, you know, a new opportunity, new momentum. So that’s all you can ask is that they’re in a better situation. Those guys have done things for this organization, and that will never be forgotten.”
Booker also mentioned his relationships with Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson, who were traded for Kevin Durant and who were also his best friends. Johnson and Bridges were huge parts of the team and even played big roles in the 2021 NBA Finals team.
Ayton hinted during his presser during the Trail Blazers Media Day that his wishes were granted. We figured for a while he didn’t want to be there anymore, just from how he acted during games. However, it is still sad to see him go, and you can tell Booker is still processing it.
After all, they were supposed to be the next Shaq and Kobe.