Suns Notes: Ayton, Williams, Crowder, Johnson, Landale

It’s up to head coach Monty Williams to ease the apparent tension between Deandre Ayton and the Suns, argues Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports. In addition to being involved in trade rumors for Kevin Durant, Ayton was forced to find a maximimum-salary deal from a rival team — he signed an offer sheet with the Pacers, which the Suns quickly matched.

Ayton said he hadn’t spoken to Williams since Phoenix’s Game 7 blowout loss to Dallas in the second round of last season’s playoffs, when he had a disagreement with Williams after being pulled early. Williams downplayed the severity of not speaking to Ayton over the offseason, but it was an awkward way to spend Media Day, Bourguet writes.

That’s not to say everything is on Williams, since the speculation and business side of things were out of his control, but there’s still no excuse for him to not speak to his young starting center who clearly hasn’t gotten over the incident, according to Bourguet, who calls Williams’ lack of one-on-one communication with Ayton “cruelly intentional at worst and a miscalculation that needs to be promptly amended at best.”

There’s still time for Williams to resolve the situation with Ayton before it impacts the season, says Bourguet.

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • Williams would prefer the Suns to move Jae Crowder before their regular season tips off on October 19, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “We’ve done a decent job of acclimating guys into the program and that’s a credit to the coaches, but also the players that help guys along once we get new people in here,” Williams said. “I’m not so much worried about the timeline. Ideally, you’d like to get someone in here before opening night, but I like the group we have.”
  • Cameron Johnson will be Phoenix’s new starting power forward, Williams confirmed to reporters (Twitter link via Rankin). The coach spoke glowingly about Johnson’s game, but mentioned he needs to “draw the line in the sand” when it comes to defense. For his part, Johnson says he needs to “rebound a lot better than I have my first couple years” and defend at a higher level (Twitter links courtesy of Bourguet).
  • Chris Paul says Jock Landale is making a strong impression in training camp both on and off the court, Bourguet tweets. “Jock’s been a great, not only basketball player, but a good guy to be around,” Paul said. Joe Ingles put Paul in contact with Landale over the summer. The Australian big man’s contract is only guaranteed for $46K in 2022/23.
View Comments (11)