The Phoenix Suns, led by their star player Devin Booker, are all geared up for the much-talked-about 2023-24 regular season. This excitement is due in large part to the acquisition of Bradley Beal, who exercised his no-trade clause, and the inclusion of NBA superstar Kevin Durant.
This trio is set to be a scoring force to be reckoned with this season. In a noteworthy trade, the Suns also managed to snag Jusuf Nurkic from the Portland Trail Blazers, letting go of Deandre Ayton. It's worth mentioning that in July 2022, Ayton inked a staggering four-year, $133 million deal with the Suns, as confirmed by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Booker Praises Bigs
Speaking to the media, Devin Booker expressed his admiration for how the team's big men have been stepping up. "A lot of the coverages in the NBA are dropped coverage," Booker elaborated in a conversation with Clutch Points' Trevor Booth.
"It's going to be a challenge against us given the shooters we have on deck." He continued to highlight the vital roles of the team's centers, who've been ensuring opponents don't get easy shots off screens. The Suns have not only welcomed Nurkic but have also integrated Bol Bol and Udoka Azubuike into their roster, further strengthening their center depth.
However, it's not all about additions. The Suns parted ways with three-time all-star Deandre Ayton, who had a stellar last season in Phoenix, boasting averages of over 18.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. Still, the Suns, who harbored championship dreams the previous season, couldn’t achieve their pinnacle goal.
Reflecting on his time with the Suns, Ayton remarked, "There were some truly incredible moments." His interview with Kellan Olson of Arizona Sports revealed a man grateful for the lessons learned in Phoenix and eager to share those experiences with the younger roster in Portland.
Ayton emphasized, "It’s not about yesterday. It’s about what you can bring to the table today." Now joining forces with emerging stars like Scoot Henderson and Anfernee Simons, Ayton is set to embark on a fresh chapter with the Trail Blazers.
Despite the swirl of trade speculations before his official move, Ayton bears no resentment towards Phoenix, cherishing the growth he experienced there. Drawing from Ayton’s sentiments, it's evident he's gearing up for a pivotal leadership role in Portland, determined to maximize the potential of this promising young team.