The Phoenix Suns have hobbled their way as a team to Christmas Day, but all is not good for the organization right now. Sitting at .500 ahead of the game against the Dallas Mavericks, they find themselves outside of the playoff picture altogether right now, but with plenty of time to change that.
The Suns will be hoping that there are many wishes that can come true for them this holiday season to put them in a better position going forward, but as of right now, their backs are most certainly against the wall. They continue to miss Bradley Beal as well, who is out with an ankle sprain and likely won't be seen until the New Year.
Veteran Eric Gordon recently came out and had some words about the season and his diminished role with the group - which although may have been read into too much by some - certainly did not come at a good time for the team. With Beal also on the record as saying this campaign to date has been a rocky one, it feels like the Suns' season is on the brink.
Which is why the apparent, and entirely understandable frustrations of Kevin Durant at what has happened this season should worry the Suns.
Durant has been playing at an MVP level for the team so far this season - and in sitting at 14-14 right now - they have clearly wasted the continued incredible play of the 35-year-old. But on NBA Countdown ahead of ESPN's coverage of the Christmas Day games, Adrian Wojnarowski had this to say on how Durant is feeling right now;
"You talk to people in Phoenix, they can feel the frustration with Kevin Durant. Part of that is the missed games with Bradley Beal. Having Kevin Durant still playing at an All-NBA level, and a healthy Kevin Durant, there’s a lot at stake for this organization… it’s gotta change soon."- NBA Insider, Adrian Wojnarowski
Obviously what Wojnarowski is saying here isn't going to be a surprise to anybody. He only has so many years as a truly elite player left in the league - and now that he appears to be fully healthy after the bad injuries of the past - Durant is only interested in playing for championships. Part of his reasoning in joining the Suns was that there was an open championship window, and that is true.
There is nothing to suggest Durant would all of a sudden want to force his way out of town again, but that's not the only reason the organization should be worried about these comments. Since landing in The Valley, Durant has always spoken about how this is Devin Booker's team, and that he is happy to be the second player next to Booker on this team.
Only Booker has missed some time through injury so far this season, and always seems to have to sit out just when it looks like he is going to go on a tear. We all know about the unavailability of Beal, while the supporting cast built on a shoestring budget has underwhelmed in several key areas. Most of which we explored in detail a few days back.
Did Durant really hitch his wagon to a situation as precarious as this one - and now that he is in Phoenix - is he happy about that fact? If these frustrations continue, then he may check out on the season if it looks like the Suns can't win a championship this year. As things stand, this group have given us very little reason to believe that goal is ultimately possible this season.
From there the Suns are on the clock to make this work, and Durant by now is surely aware that the front office does not have the assets or players to make this roster better through trades. Which brings us back to the issue of Durant deciding he wants out of Phoenix - which we are still a long way from even considering - but it would be naive to disregard that possibility altogether.
Durant forced his way out of the Brooklyn Nets once he realized that they weren't built for a title run, and he did so with plenty of years left on his contract. That's part of the reason the Suns had to give up so much to get him, with the player earmarking the Suns as the team he wanted to be traded to as well. This was facilitated, so why can't that happen again?
The new CBA makes doing this harder, but not impossible, and if Durant realizes that he'll never add to his two championships in his current situation, why wouldn't he try and change that? He's going to go down as a top 25 player of all-time, but also as a player who could never win unless it was with one of the best teams ever in the Golden State Warriors.
Really though these frustrations should scare the Suns because there is nothing they can do about it. They traded for Beal, and they don't have the ability to do much else except hope he gets healthy and that the role players who have failed to live up to expectations grow into their spots. In other words, exactly what they've done all season, which has led the team to the position they're in now.