NBA free agency has already been pretty weird and it’s only July 1st. Things have wavered when it comes to LeBron James heading to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Philadelphia 76ers are pursuing Kawhi Leonard, and now it appears that one young star isn’t too happy with his front office after a recent roster move.
Ulis and Booker are very good friends (the two played together at Kentucky and have known each other for a while) and while Phoenix makes way for salary cap absorption they didn’t see space for the former Wildcats point guard.
If history tells us anything in the NBA, it’s that players playing favorites toward guys they like isn’t a viable way to make your team better. Just look at just about every roster LeBron James has played on. Putting undue influence on a team to keep a player you are friendly with regardless of skill-set or roster contact is a bad look.
Booker sort of has the Suns over a barrel, especially given how well he has played and is projected to grow over the next couple of years. Phoenix has had a hard time signing or trading for a big star, something it seems they are always rumored to be in the works for. In the meantime, the Suns have a lot of dead weight along with Booker and Deandre Ayton, the No. 1 overall pick in 2018.
Then again, Booker isn’t necessarily good enough to make a demand that a friend be kept on the roster. Few NBA players actually are. For now this seems like NBA drama being aired openly, potentially to gain leverage later. There’s no worry that Booker will turn down any kind of max deal from Phoenix this early in his career. At least, not yet.