The Phoenix Suns are treating Devin Booker like a franchise player.
When a team has one of the truly elite players in the game, it consults said player on decisions such as free agency — that is not to say the player has final say, but they have input. How much a franchise bends to the will of the star varies from organization to organization — how Cleveland and Miami have treated LeBron James is different — but there is a standard.
Is Booker a franchise player? The Suns are treating him as one — they are going to pay him like one next summer with a max contract extension (which he has earned), and General Manager Ryan McDonough said he will get the perks of a franchise player as well, as reported by the Arizona Republic’s Scott Bordow.
General Manager Ryan McDonough said Thursday that Booker will have a voice in all of the organization’s major decisions going forward, including the search for a new coach, free agency and the draft.
“With his emergence and importance to not only what we’re doing in the short term but hopefully in the next decade-plus, I think it’s important to make him a partner in the process,” McDonough said.
There are 29 other teams that would love to have Booker on the roster. Booker is averaging 27.4 points per game, shooting 37.8 percent from three, and has had 10 games of 30 points or more. He’s an elite spot-up shooter who is solid, but not great, at shot creation (he needs to improve when forced left), which is why a lot of people around the league see him more as a No. 2 on an elite team, or at least someone who needs to be next to a shot creating point guard or wing. Think more like a Klay Thompson type on offense — a very good player who benefits from the shot creators around him. The difference is Thompson also is a very good defender and Booker is a liability on that end, which holds back his ultimate effectiveness.
Booker is a borderline All-Star player (in the East he’d be more likely, in the deep West it’s an uphill climb) but the Suns have got one piece of their future and they’re treating him like one.