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Center of the Sun: Phoenix goes all-in, Ayton highlights, and watching the NBA Draft

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

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Sacramento Kings v Washington Wizards Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

The new guy walks up to the poker table and puts his cash on the felt.

The new guy arrives late to the poker game. Despite his tardiness, he confidently puts his crisp cash on the felt and buys into the game. In no time he’s begun making his moves, seizing his chances, and gathering numerous chips. Behind a stack of chips he peers, and due to his uneven play, no one knows how to read him.

During the next hand, three cards are placed on the table, and he does it. He goes all in.

That is what new Suns owner Mat Ishbia has essentially done in his short time owning the franchise. He is an active player at the table and continues to bet big with his team. He played his hand in February and garnered Kevin Durant. Father’s Day weekend 2023, he and James Jones surprised the NBA world with the acquisition of Bradley Beal.

The chips are on the table and the franchise is clearly focused on trying to bring the Larry O’Brien trophy home to Phoenix. He is all in.

You most certainly have your opinions on the Beal acquisition. I know I did, I had it typed up all nice and pretty in this piece. Then the world went sideways. Does it make sense mathematically? Did the Suns compromise their deaths in an effort to have a big three? Is it a big four if the team chooses to stay with Ayton? How is this going to work? Can Beal stay healthy enough to contribute to the team?

Whatever your questions might be, you have to acknowledge and respect the fact that Mat Ishbia is quite literally putting his money where his mouth is. He stated when he took over the team that money wouldn’t be an object in pursuit of the first Suns’ championship. And since he has arrived in Phoenix, he’s done just that.

It’s worth applauding, and it is a far cry from the ownership group that held court for over a decade before Ishbia’s arrival.

2022-23 Highlights

On this week’s edition, let’s watch all of Deandre Ayton’s 30+ point games last season.

November 30, 2022: 30 points vs. Chicago Bulls:

December 20, 2022: 30 points vs. Washington Wizards:

December 28, 2022: 31 points @ Washington Wizards:

February 4, 2023: 31 points @ Detroit Pistons:

February 7, 2023: 35 points vs. Brooklyn Nets:

News & Notes

AZ Central: Former Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams says wife was diagnosed with breast cancer during NBA Playoffs

ESPN: Monty Williams: Pistons’ patience amid wife’s diagnosis helped sway decision

Arizona Sports: Emoni Bates a trendy pick for Suns in NBA mock drafts

Clutch Points: Kendrick Perkins predicts Kevin Durant-Draymond Green reunion with Suns

CBS Sports: Chris Paul ‘absolutely’ hopes to remain with Suns: ‘I don’t want to be anywhere else’

Arizona Sports: Could Spurs fit as potential trade partner for Suns’ Deandre Ayton?

Burn City Sports: Rumors: Lakers Interested in Chris Paul

Real GM: Suns Have Interest In Several Point Guard Options

Hoops Wire: Suns Expressing Trade Interest in Malcolm Brogdon, John Collins

Sportskeeda: Phoenix Suns targeting Malcolm Brogdon and John Collins

Arizona Sports: Suns reportedly add South Bay Lakers coaches Miles Simon, John Lucas III to staff

Sports Illustrated: Suns, Heat Emerge As Two Finalists for Bradley Beal Trade, per Report

ESPN: Sources: Suns finalizing trade for Wizards’ Bradley Beal

Bleacher Report: Deandre Ayton’s Suns Future Debated by NBA Twitter After Reported Bradley Beal Trade

NBA Analysis Network: Wizards ‘Likely’ To Reroute Chris Paul In Bradley Beal Trade

Quotes of the Week

“There’s a growing belief among league personnel that San Antonio will target starting centers this offseason, whether by trade or on the open market in free agency, to save Victor Wembanyama from the brunt of battling against frontcourt behemoths in his first season.” — Jake Fischer, Yahoo! Sports

“Absolutely.” — Chris Paul on if he wants to remain in Phoenix

“Beal is an upgrade from Booker” — Anonymous NBA scout per Landon Buford, USA Today

This Week in Suns History

June 18, 1993

Important Future Dates

June 22: NBA Draft.

June 29: Final day for teams to make qualifying offers to restricted free agents.

June 30: Teams can begin negotiating with free agents at 6:00 pm ET.

July 1: Official start of the 2023-24 NBA league year. Moratorium period begins. Restricted free agents can sign an offer sheet. Teams can begin signing players to rookie scale contracts, minimum salary contracts, and two-way contracts. Teams can begin exercising the third- or fourth-year team options for 2024-25 on rookie scale contracts.

July 6: Free agency moratorium period ends (10.01 am ET). Teams can begin officially signing players, extending players, and completing trades. The two-day period for matching an RFA offer sheet signed during the moratorium begins.

July 7-17: NBA Summer League (Las Vegas).

July 13: Last day for teams to unilaterally withdraw qualifying offers to restricted free agents.

August TBD: NBA schedule released.

August 31: Last day for teams to waive players and apply the stretch provision to their 2023-24 salaries.

September 5: Last day for teams to issue required tenders to unsigned second-round picks; those players become free agents on September 6 if not tendered.

Late September: (specific dates TBA) Training camps open.

October 24: 2023-24 NBA season begins.

Bringing it Home

This next week brings us the NBA Draft. It was the day that we once marked on our calendars as we prepared for a new hope. Our Luke Skywalker would one day be selected and he would change the course of the franchise. Help us Devin Booker, you’re our only hope!

Thankfully, that is no longer the case. The Suns have built an organization that no longer needs draft picks to be successful. James Jones? We all know he’s not into developing players. Or apparently keeping any draft picks. With the Beal deal, they’re practically all gone.

That being said, you can’t blindly skip overdraft day and move on to free agency and the trade market. This isn’t Mario Bros. level 1–2. You have to play the game. Despite the Suns only having the 52nd overall pick in the draft, there’s still a possibility that Phoenix could be players on draft night.

Draft night is one evening in which all general managers most certainly do not have their cell phones on vibrate or silent. They are fielding calls. They are engaged. They’re looking for strategic ways to improve their roster. James Jones could use the advantage of the excitement of this evening to make some moves for the franchise. There isn’t much draft capital to utilize, but Deandre Ayton might be enticing enough to some organizations to part ways with certain assets.

My point?

Don’t skip June 22. Don’t not tune in, despite what Bill Burr might say. When you least expect something, that is when James Jones Strikes. Be ready. You never know what might happen.

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