Woj: Durant Frustrated By Beal’s Health, Suns’ Supporting Cast

2023/24 has been a roller coaster season thus far for the Suns. After starting off 4-6 amid injuries to Bradley Beal and Devin Booker, Phoenix reeled off seven straight victories after Booker returned to hold an 11-6 record.

However, the Suns have gone 3-8 since and are currently an underwhelming 14-14 heading into Monday’s game against Dallas. Beal has only appeared in six games, first dealing with a back injury and then spraining his ankle, which will likely keep him out until January.

Appearing on NBA Countdown, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said star forward Kevin Durant is growing frustrated by the situation in Phoenix (YouTube link).

Start with Kevin Durant. You talk to people in Phoenix and around that organization, you know, they can feel the frustration with Durant,” Wojnarowski said. “Part of that certainly is the missed games for Brad Beal. This team was build around those three stars.

The underwhelming supporting cast that comes from those massive trades for Durant and Bradley Beal that really gutted the organization and left them having to sign a lot of minimum players to fill out the payroll. And then an understanding that they lack the assets, the draft picks, the trade capital to really improve this team.

This is something they’re going to have to manage in Phoenix with Kevin Durant. You’ve seen it before. And it reminds you — it is a stark reminder — of how short of a window, and how this team has to win big, and they have to win big quickly, based on how it was constructed. And having Kevin Durant still playing at an All-NBA level, and a healthy Kevin Durant. There’s a lot at stake for this organization. It’s got to change soon.”

As Wojnarowski alluded to, it’s ironic that Durant is frustrated by a situation he specifically asked to be traded into — and not just once, but twice. Brooklyn eventually acquiesced and sent him to the Suns in February 2023, but he initially asked to be traded in the summer of 2022.

The Nets received Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, four unprotected first-round picks and a first-round swap from the Suns for Durant (plus a couple second-rounders from the Bucks for Jae Crowder). One of those Suns picks has already conveyed — Brooklyn selected Noah Clowney 21st overall in 2023.

Durant is 35 years old, so some level of win-now frustration is understandable to an extent. And Wojnarowski is certainly correct that the 13-time All-Star continues to play at an elite level, as Durant is averaging 30.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 5.4 APG and 1.1 BPG on .521/.473/.871 shooting in 24 games (36.6 MPG). His 47.3% mark from three-point range currently leads the NBA.

The Suns don’t have many options leading into the February trade deadline. They don’t control any of their future first-round picks, and Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen and Nassir Little — who were all acquired in the offseason as part of the trade that sent Deandre Ayton and Toumani Camara to Portland and Damian Lillard to Milwaukee — are the only the only mid-sized contracts on the roster.

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