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Center of the Sun: Phoenix Suns 2021-22 season begins this morning with Media Day

Your weekly roundup of Suns news, rumors, notes and videos from the prior week plus a preview of the week to come.

2021 NBA Finals - Practice and Media Availability Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Media Day. The day before training camp begins, members of the media get their first chance to ask questions about the team, the upcoming season from the people who really know what’s going on and then pass along what they’ve learned to you, our readers.

Be prepared for lots of new articles this week. Undoubtedly, the Suns’ brain trust of James Jones and Monty Williams won’t spill all the beans regarding their plans for this season but what they do reveal should be interesting and perhaps eye-opening at times. The player interviews are always intriguing.

Unfortunately, as I was writing this, this tweet came up.

Yes, Devin Booker will miss Media Day and the beginning of training camp. It has been reported that Book has been vaccinated but it is not 100% effective although those who do test positive after receiving the vaccination tend to have much milder symptoms.

According to Arizona Sports:

The star guard confirmed on a Twitch stream Sunday that he tested positive for COVID-19.

“Honestly I’m feeling straight man. The only thing I’m dealing with is no taste, no smell which is the worst part of it. I am going to be back in no time,” Booker said.

For more on this situation, check out Dave King’s article from yesterday. With Media Day just hours away from beginning, I assume we’ll get an official update on Book’s situation very soon.

The Suns will begin livestreaming Media Day today at 12:30 pm ET/9:30 am AZT. NBA.com has provided this LINK for those at home who want to watch live.

Bright Side has you covered!

Our editor Dave King will be there on-site for Bright Side as one of the limited number of media allowed in the building, while staff writers Trevor Booth and Brandon/ZonaHoops will be participating remotely via Zoom on the live interviews.


2020-21 Playoff Highlights

#7 LAKERS at #2 SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | May 23, 2021

#2 SUNS at #7 LAKERS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | June 3, 2021

#2 SUNS at #3 NUGGETS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | June 13, 2021


Quotes of the Week

“The culture is something that makes coming to work everyday fun, and that starts with Monty.” - Devin Booker

“If ask anyone who’s ever played with Chris (Paul), they’re like “He’s the most competitive guy. All he wants to do is win. And he doesn’t want to win for himself, he wants to win for the team.” - James Jones

“I think what happens in our game too much is people talk about potential. When you’re playing against the best in the world, you have to have something you can hang your hat on every night that gives you confidence that if I do what I’m supposed to and I continue to work on these other things, I can survive.” - James Jones


News & Notes

Spotlight: Monty Williams. TalkBasket.net

“All love for Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Phoenix Suns but it’s going to be tough for them”: Matt Barnes explains why the 2021 Finalists won’t replicate the success they saw last season. The Sports Rush

3 Trade Targets For Phoenix Suns Entering Training Camp. NBA Analysis Network

Michael Ruffin latest assistant added to Phoenix Suns coaching staff. Arizona Republic

JaVale McGee has another funny diss of Shaq. Yardbarker

‘I AM HOME’: Ex-Suns star Cedric Ceballos out of hospital following battle with COVID-19. FOX 10 Phoenix


This Week in Suns History

On September 27, 1983, the Suns signed Paul Westphal as a free agent to a 2-year contract. Three years earlier, Westphal had been traded by Phoenix to Seattle for Dennis Johnson. He would play only one more season with the Suns before being waived and subsequently retiring. Three years earlier, Westphal had been traded by Phoenix to Seattle for Dennis Johnson.

On September 28, 1993, Phoenix signed 30 year old power forward A.C. Green as an unrestricted free agent. Green, who played his first 8 season for the LA Lakers, played 3.5 seasons for the Suns and averaged 10.6 ppg, and 7.7 rpg while starting 162 of 273 games played.

On October 1, 1991, the Suns traded Xavier McDaniel to the New York Knicks for Jerrod Mustaf, Trent Tucker, a 1992 2nd round draft pick and a 1994 2nd round draft pick. McDaniel had been acquired by Phoenix the previous season from the Seattle SuperSonics for Eddie Johnson, a 1991 1st round draft pick and a 1994 1st round draft pick.

On October 1, 1997, as part of a 3-team trade, the Phoenix Suns traded a 1998 1st round draft pick (Tyronn Lue), a 1999 1st round draft pick (James Posey), a 2000 2nd round draft pick (Dan McClintock), a 2001 1st round draft pick (Joseph Forte) and a 2002 2nd round draft pick (Rod Grizzard) to the Denver Nuggets; the Suns traded Tony Dumas and Wesley Person to the Cleveland Cavaliers; the Cleveland Cavaliers traded a 2005 1st round draft pick (Sean May) to the Phoenix Suns; and the Denver Nuggets traded Antonio McDyess to the Phoenix Suns.


Suns Trivia

Paul Westphal’s career was shortened by repeated stress fracture foot injuries starting in 1981 after he was traded to the Seattle SuperSonics. After returning from his first stress fracture, he signed with the New York Knicks in February of the 1981-82 season and played for them until returning to Phoenix for his final year as a player.

In 1985 Westphal began his coaching career at Southwestern Baptist Bible College (now Arizona Christian University) in Phoenix. After compiling a 21–9 record in his lone season there, he moved on to Grand Canyon College, also in Phoenix, and after two seasons led them to the NAIA national title in 1988 after compiling a 63-18 record over two seasons. He was then hired by the Suns as an assistant coach under head coach Cotton Fitzsimmons.

In 1992 Westphal succeeded Fitzsimmons as head coach of the Suns and led them to their second NBA Finals appearance after being a key player on the 1975-76 team that went to the Suns’ first NBA Finals. Westphal’s No. 44 was retired by the Suns and he was made a member of their Ring of Honor on April 15, 1989. During his playing career he was a five-time All-Star, a three-time All-NBA first team selection and a one-time second team All-NBA selection. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a player on September 6, 2019.

After being traded to the Suns, Antonio McDyess became a free agent at the end of the 1997-98 season and made a verbal agreement to return to Denver. However as the 1998–99 season lockout dragged on, he reconsidered an offer to return to Phoenix. According to Sports Illustrated, Jason Kidd, Rex Chapman, and George McCloud flew through a blizzard to Denver in hopes of convincing him to re-sign with the Suns. McDyess was attending a Colorado Avalanche game with Nuggets President and General Manager Dan Issel who instructed security to not let the three Suns players into the building. They never got the chance to speak with McDyess and he wound up re-signing with the Nuggets.

Backup center JaVale McGee was nominated for a Grammy last year. McGee is credited as a producer on Justin Bieber’s “Changes” which was in the running for Best Pop Vocal Album. He contributed to the sixth track on Bieber’s album, which is entitled “Available” under his music name, Pierre. McGee also released a solo rap album in 2018.


Previewing the Week Ahead

Monday, Sept. 27 - Media Day.

Tuesday, Sept. 28 - Training camp opens.


Important Future Dates

October 4 - Phoenix Suns @ Sacramento Kings (Preseason game) 7:00 pm PST

October 6 - Phoenix Suns vs LA Lakers (Preseason game) 6:00 pm PST

October 10 - Phoenix Suns @ LA Lakers (Preseason game) 6:30 pm PST

October 13 - Phoenix Suns vs Portland Trail Blazers (Preseason game) 6:00 pm PST

October 18 - Deadline for signing contract extensions.

October 19 - 2021-22 regular season begins.

October 20 - Opening Night: Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets 7:00 pm AZT (ESPN)

December 15 - Most players signed during offseason can be traded.

December 25 - Phoenix Suns vs Golden State Warriors 3:00 PM AZT (ABC)

January 15 - All players signed during offseason can be traded.

February 20, 2022 - NBA All-Star Game.

April 10, 2022 - Regular season ends.

April 12-15, 2022 - Play-In Tournament.

April 16, 2022 - Playoffs begin.

June 23, 2022 - NBA Draft.