NBA personality thinks Devin Booker could leave Phoenix Suns

Devin Booker is the cornerstone of the Phoenix Suns franchise, yet one NBA personality would not be surprised to see him leave for the New York Knicks.
Los Angeles Clippers v Phoenix Suns
Los Angeles Clippers v Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The Phoenix Suns' season hit a new low in their recent loss to the L.A. Clippers, which has one again seen them slide into the play-in tournament slots in the Western Conference. The manner in which the team lost that game at home - being down 35-4 at one point - a dreadful sign for what is to come for this group.

No matter what happens this season though - and a championship is as far off for this team as it has ever been - the franchise has Devin Booker. A legitimate superstar and top 10 player in the league, who is only now just entering his prime. That's the hard part in this league, getting the guy to then build around.

But is there any way Booker could be gone from The Valley sooner than we think? According to one NBA personality, there absolutely is.

We need to preface this by saying the personality in question, Bill Simmons, is about as polarizing as it gets in the world of NBA media. Quite often he just says what is on his mind despite demonstrating a lack of understanding for cap situations league wide, or clearly having failed to watch enough of a player or team to make the kind of sweeping judgements that he routinely does.

Yet in making the point that Booker could somehow land with the New York Knicks, Simmons does spell out the kind of scenario that is - unfortunately for Suns fans - not that hard to see happening. Especially at a time when players like Stephen Curry are the outlier and not the norm, in sticking with one organization for their entire time in the league.

"See when I think about the Knicks big picture, I think of (Mikal) Bridges, and I think of Booker. And I know, "oh yeah, Booker's never leaving Phoenix", I just don't believe people are in the same place ever in the NBA anymore. We've been burned so many different times."

Bill Simmons on Devin Booker

That first part is worrying enough in itself, because Simmons is correct. Did we ever think Kevin Durant would leave a fringe contender in the Oklahoma City Thunder, and go and join the best team in the league at the time in the Golden State Warriors? Or ditch that situation for the Brooklyn Nets, where he somehow teamed up with James Harden and Kyrie Irving?

Harden - who himself had a pitstop in Philadelphia with the 76ers and Joel Embiid - and who now plays with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. What about Bradley Beal, who owns one of the largest contracts in the league, somehow joining a Suns team that already had two max players in Booker and Durant. So it is certainly not impossible, and it gets worse from there with Simmons saying;

"And if I'm the Knicks, who is going to be unhappy end of April, because we have so many good teams now, there's going to be a couple of teams that are like holy ****, we just lost in the first round in five games. Or oh my God, we didn't even get out of the play-in. We just spent $250 million on our roster, and I think Phoenix is a good candidate for that."

Bill Simmons on Devin Booker

This scenario looks altogether possible for the Suns right now - because even if they get out of the play-in spots or tournament itself - it is hard to see them beating one of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder or Denver Nuggets in a first round series. With a lack of flexibility because of the Beal contract and wanting to bring back Grayson Allen and Royce O'Neale, what then?

Suns fans won't want to admit it, but Booker isn't any different to any other star in the league who fails to break through and then eventually looks elsewhere to try and get over the hump. The Knicks are the example Simmons used, and the prospect of teaming up with Jalen Brunson, OG Anunoby and maybe even Julius Randle could be a tempting one.

None are as good individually as Durant, but they're all younger and their championship window playing in the weaker Eastern Conference would remain open for years longer than this current one in Phoenix is going to. That truly would be the ultimate disaster for the Suns and their owner Mat Ishbia, but Simmons had one more, just as depressing, point to make on the matter.

Next. 3 Suns who will let them down in the playoffs. 3 Suns who will let them down in the playoffs. dark

"Like I thought the Phoenix vs Cleveland game was like the unhappy All-Star game. At various times I was worried about the state of mind of both teams. Then there's the Durant piece we have to mention... he does that interview podcast with Rich Kleiman, which I thought was hilarious to do a podcast with your manager and he's like "I told you we should have done the Knicks" and KD's like "I know, you were right". So the door is open now for the Knicks."

Bill Simmons on the Suns

Durant bouncing for New York wouldn't be as bad, but the fact both Booker and Durant had questionable demeanours in the aftermath of the Clippers loss is not a good sign. We haven't yet hit the point where Booker even looks like he wants out of Phoenix, but this theoretical scenario is frightening because it does not seem impossible when you spell it out.