15 People who turned their backs on the Phoenix Suns

These former Suns did not leave on the best terms.
Phoenix Suns, Robert Horry
Phoenix Suns, Robert Horry / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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8. Deandre Ayton

The Suns won the 2018 NBA Draft lottery and selected Ayton first overall over Luka Doncic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Trae Young, and Jalen Brunson. They could not pass on the chance to land a dominant big man who went to high school in Arizona. Phoenix believed Ayton could become a star, but it never happened.

He helped the Suns snap a decade-long playoff drought and reach the NBA Finals in 2021, but it was the high-water mark of his tenure in Phoenix. Ayton continued to put up numbers, but there was a disconnect between him and the organization. He had spats with head coach Monty Williams and was ready to move on before the Suns traded him.

It was never clear if Ayton requested a trade, but he was happy to be moved in the 2023 offseason. The Suns got Grayson Allen and Jusuf Nurkic in the swap. It was clear both sides needed a fresh start, especially after Ayton’s playoff performances in 2022 and 2023.

This case was not one thing. It was the minor spats with the coach and not wanting to stay as they acquired Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal. Ayton never realized his full potential in Phoenix and moving on was necessary.