Suns Notes: Ayton, Vogel, Young, Paul

Suns center Deandre Ayton enjoyed yet another promising regular season run in 2022/23, followed by a second consecutive disappointing playoff performance. Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic unpacks three reasons Phoenix should retain Ayton for 2023/24, along with three reasons to trade him.

Ayton signed a four-year, $133M offer sheet from the Pacers last summer, which the Suns promptly matched. Rankin believes that Ayton’s scoring versatility and his solid work as a screen-setter make him a good fit alongside stars Devin Booker and Kevin Durant, adding that working with a new head coach could be good for him.

The 6’11” big man averaged 18.0 PPG and 10.0 RPG across 67 contests with the Suns during the regular season, but took a step back as a scorer and defender in the playoffs. He averaged 13.4 PPG and 9.7 RPG overall in Phoenix’s 10 postseason contests this year.

There’s more out of Phoenix:

  • New Suns head coach Frank Vogel made an instant impression on new majority owner Mat Ishbia, per Doug Haller of The Athletic. “Right away, he puts you at ease,” Ishbia told Haller. Haller details how Vogel, who won a title with the Lakers in 2020, got the gig, and how he’ll help the team take the next steps in its championship chase. Haller reveals that Ishbia and team president James Jones kept Booker and Durant looped into their coaching search as they narrowed down their candidates. “Sometimes you need an injection of something, a different message, a different focus, a different perspective,’’ Jones told Haller. “You just need a different message and someone to carry the message differently. That’s sports.” Haller notes that Vogel’s previous experiences winning it all, managing star players, and being able to adjust his defensive schemes to accommodate different rosters particularly stood out.
  • Jones viewed the retention of assistant coach Kevin Young, a finalist for the head coaching position, as imperative to the team. Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports unpacks Jones’ comments and more from the introductory press conference of Vogel. “Throughout the entire process, we’ve had frank discussions with Kevin around his desire to be in Phoenix,” Jones said. “He wanted to be here, we wanted him to be here, because he’s a great coach and he wants to win. So given the opportunity to stay here and continue to build with us, it was an easy decision for him, and it was an easy decision for us.”
  • As the Suns continue to consider whether they will waive veteran starting point guard Chris Paul, stretch and waive him, or trade him, Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports weighs the various positives and negatives surrounding each potential decision.
View Comments (11)