May 17, 2023 - Sports

Big roster and coaching questions loom over Suns' offseason

Five basketball players in black jerseys with PHX on the front stand next to each other on a basketball court.

From left: Kevin Durant, Deandre Ayton, Chris Paul, Torrey Craig and Devin Booker. Photo: Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

The disappointing end to the Phoenix Suns' season is likely to pave the way for a tumultuous offseason.

State of play: The team fired head coach Monty Williams two days after the Suns' postseason ended with an embarrassing blowout in the Western Conference semifinals for the second consecutive year.

Big questions remain about who will take his place, the players who aren't coming back and which new faces will be on the roster.

Coaching: Suns assistant coach Kevin Young, Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue, former Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer and former Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse are the names most often bandied about to replace Williams.

Chris Paul: The future Hall of Fame point guard turned the Suns into a championship contender when he arrived for the 2020-21 season, and has two years left on his contract, the second of which isn't guaranteed.

  • But 38-year-old Paul could retire or the team could trade him.
  • The Arizona Republic reported this week that Paul sounds like a player who's up for the challenge of returning for a 19th season. But he had no insight on whether the team will want him back, saying, “Unfortunately, I'm not the GM … So, we'll see.”

Deandre Ayton: Speculation is rampant that the team will trade him, and ESPN reported last week that others in the league expect the Suns to "aggressively explore" a deal for him.

  • Flashback: The Portland Trailblazers, Dallas Mavericks and Indiana Pacers attempted to sign him last year and could be in the mix this offseason, too.

What we're watching: Regardless of whether Ayton or Paul come back, the Suns' championship window with 34-year-old Kevin Durant on the roster feels like it's closing quickly, which could prompt Ishbia and Jones to land another big name who could help lead Phoenix back to the Finals.

  • Brian Geltzeiler of Sirius XM/NBA TV reported that former MVP James Harden is interested in possibly joining the Suns.
  • The former ASU star has a $35.6 million player option to return to the Philadelphia 76ers, which he could pass up if he wants to play for a different team.

There's also speculation the Suns could bring in Kyrie Irving, possibly in a trade for Ayton.


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