NBA Team #2: Phoenix Suns
New Suns owner Mat Ishbia is going all in. Former Coach of the Year Monty Williams has been replaced, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal have been acquired in blockbuster trades, and the Suns’ payroll is massive. Chris Paul has been shipped off to the Warriors, and most of the Suns former supporting cast is now playing for the Nets. The 2021 Finals team has been completely dismantled.
Getting Kevin Durant will never be considered a bad move, but he and Beal are both aging. There is not much time left to build a contender around them, especially considering their injury histories, and the Suns’ roster still has some holes. They are very top-heavy, but teams that want to win a championship need the right supporting pieces around them. Sacrificing depth for star power could prove to be a risky move.
Age is already pressuring the Suns—they have to win soon or not win at all, it seems—and so is money. For the last couple of years, the Suns have always been regarded as somewhat of a threat in the West, even though they never made it past the second round after their Finals run in 2021. Now, they have to be real competition for everyone in the West and a looming threat to whoever plans to come out of the East. You cannot spend this much money on a team only for it to flame out in the second round again.
Not only would it be bad management if this team failed, but it would also have consequences for the future. Pretty much all their assets are gone; Beal’s contract is tough to move, especially if he does not want to be traded; and Booker is the face of the franchise. That only leaves a Deandre Ayton trade as a realistic means to alter the roster. The Suns better make this teamwork.