In a Game 7 against the Mavericks last May, Suns coach Monty Williams benched center Deandre Ayton, who ended up playing just 17 minutes in an ugly, blowout loss for Phoenix. When asked about it after the game Williams said, “It’s internal.”
Ayton and Williams have not spoken since then, according to Ayton.
Deandre Ayton said he and Monty Williams have not spoken about their sideline incident in Game 7: pic.twitter.com/Z9rHYHr5yX
— Gerald Bourguet (@GeraldBourguet) September 27, 2022
Yikes. Remember that includes a summer where the Suns would not offer Ayton a max contract extension so he went out and got one from the Pacers, then the Suns instantly matched it. Ayton did not sound thrilled to be back in Phoenix on Media Day, and he was rather matter-of-fact about dealing with his coach.
Ayton was asked if he is happy here and he said “Yeah, I’m alright. When I’m inbetween those lines now I just work. I’m not playing for myself. I have an organization across my chest and a name on my back I have to represent. I’m just here to work, man.”
— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) September 27, 2022
It’s what every fan wants to hear — “this is just my job.”
Reporters asked Williams about this and he played it off, saying he hasn’t spoken with a lot of players yet.
"I haven't talked to a lot of guys."
— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) September 27, 2022
It’s just day one of training camp, but there are a lot of red flags around the Suns: owner Robert Sarver being suspended and selling the team, Jae Crowder not in camp waiting to be traded, and now not a lot of communication between the team’s star center and its coach.
Maybe it all amounts to nothing. Maybe the Suns get on the court, Chris Paul looks rejuvenated, Devin Booker looks like Devin Booker, and none of this matters. But what had looked like a stable situation not that long ago now has a lot of red flags flying heading into the season, and that has to concern Suns fans.