Suns Notes: Wainright, Booker, Durant, Ishbia

Ish Wainright, who returned to the Suns on a two-way contract earlier this week after being waived by Phoenix in October and by Portland in January, jokingly referred to Devin Booker as the “president of Arizona” and said it was Booker who first called him with the news that the team was re-signing him (Twitter video link via Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports).

Wainright went on to say that he received calls from several former coaches and teammates after he was waived by the Trail Blazers in January, providing encouragement and assuring him that he’d get another shot in the NBA. Booker was among those who reached out, with Suns head coach Frank Vogel and team owner Mat Ishbia also remaining in touch.

The 29-year-old forward had been working out in Phoenix since being let go by Portland and is thrilled to be back on the Suns’ roster.

“This whole time we stayed in contact, ’cause I know what they want to build here and I wanted to be a part of it,” Wainright said (Twitter links via Bourguet).

Vogel told reporters that the Suns are excited to have Wainright back, referring to him as a talented player and a “really good culture guy” with a strong work ethic, adding that he benefits from already knowing the team’s system (Twitter video link).

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • Booker, who is recovering from a right ankle sprain, did some on-court work on Friday, but will be listed as doubtful for Saturday’s game vs. Boston, according to Vogel (Twitter video link via Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic).
  • Kevin Durant spoke to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report about how he stays motivated, his belief in the Suns, and his desire to continue establishing chemistry not just with star teammates Booker and Bradley Beal but with the entire roster. “I think we’re starting to build something and form an identity. And that takes time and reps,” Durant said. “Our coaching staff is doing a great job. I’m not promising anything, but I like our chances against anybody.”
  • Ramona Shelburne of ESPN takes an in-depth look at Mat Ishbia‘s “topsy-turvy” first year owning the Suns and considers what comes next for the club. Ishbia told ESPN that he intends to do “whatever it takes to win” and isn’t concerned about the limitations that operating above the second tax apron will impose on the franchise. “I understand all the rules that come with the second apron. I understand exactly what the CBA tried to do,” he said. “I read it, I know it inside and out, and we made a calculated decision that we think the team with the best players wins. Would I rather have Brad Beal, Kevin Durant and Devin Booker than just having two of those guys? I’d rather have all three a hundred times out of a hundred, and I don’t think there’s another GM or owner or CEO that wouldn’t say that exact same thing.”
  • Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports passes along some of the notable quotes from Ishbia’s Thursday press conference with Adam Silver, where the NBA announced that Phoenix will host the 2027 All-Star Game. We relayed Ishbia’s comments about free-agents-to-be Grayson Allen and Royce O’Neale in a separate story.
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