Following another disappointing playoff loss, the Phoenix Suns’ decision to fire head coach Monty Williams could be the first of several bold moves. Williams led the Suns to the best record in the NBA last season, only for his team to be bounced in the second round in an embarrassing loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
This season’s end result proved to be no better, despite having acquired superstar Kevin Durant. Now, it appears that new team owner Matt Ishbia has taken the reins of the franchise and will be the one making the decisions, not GM James Jones.
Jones won Executive of the Year in 2021 after assembling the Suns team that won 61 games. However, after buying the team this season, Ishbia was the one who pushed through the Kevin Durant trade. That was only the beginning, and after Williams’ firing, the Phoenix Suns could look much different next season.
The Phoenix Suns may clean house this summer.
With Williams gone, Jones may be the next to go, allowing Ishbia to pick the team’s new GM and coach before turning his sights to the roster. The Suns don’t have a ton of roster flexibility, but they are expected to trade both Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton this summer. Despite Ayton’s poor semifinal performance, he is still one of the better centers in the NBA. He could fetch a decent return, but perhaps not for a player as talented.
Given his effort issues, Phoenix may be willing to settle for a couple of capable rotation players that can improve their depth around their two best players, Durant and Devin Booker. Then again, if Ayton is moved and they don’t receive a starting center in return for him, they could have a hole at the five.
They could possibly find a stop-gap option in free agency or a replacement by dealing Paul. At 38 years old, “The Point God” is on his last legs but may draw interest from another contender, though the Suns may use him in a sign-and-trade for a replacement point guard. Free agent guards Fred Van Vleet or Kyrie Irving are viable options and would allow the Suns to extend their title window.
Ultimately, the Suns could enter next season with a new GM, head coach, and a new-look roster. With Ayton and Paul on the trading block, Phoenix could conceivably add an all-star point guard to replace Paul. They could also add a couple of rotation players and a stop-gap starting five to replace Ayton.
After back-to-back playoff disappointments, it’s clear that the Suns have to do something different, and it’s also clear that Ishbia is willing to do whatever it takes to turn Phoenix into NBA champions.