May 1, 2024 - News

Phoenix Suns face big questions and uncertain future

Three basketball players on the court, with one looking behind him toward the camera.

Suns stars Devin Booker, Bradley Beal and Kevin Durant. Photo: Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns' future is uncertain after a disappointing season and even more disappointing first-round exit from the playoffs.

The big picture: After two years of major roster shake-ups that made the Suns virtually unrecognizable from the team that went to the NBA Finals in 2021, they're left without a clear path forward if they want to stay in the hunt for the franchise's first championship.

  • New owner Mat Ishbia's plan to win now, which included trading for Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal to form a "big three" with longtime star Devin Booker, didn't pay dividends.
  • The team struggled to find its identity throughout the season and the pieces never seemed to fit together.
  • That culminated in a sweep by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

State of play: The Suns have several issues that will make it difficult to rebuild or make major changes.

  • The team's trades since Ishbia took over about 15 months ago have left the Suns without first-round draft picks in three of the next five seasons.
  • Phoenix already has the NBA's third-highest payroll, and is expected to be on the highest level of the league's luxury tax next season, which would severely limits its ability to sign or trade for new players in the offseason.
  • The Suns owe Beal nearly $161 million over the next three seasons and his contract has a no-trade clause.

Zoom in: The Suns still lack a true point guard, which they haven't had since they traded Chris Paul to Washington for Beal.

  • They also need more depth on their bench.
  • Durant was one of the league's top scorers and played at an elite level this year, but he'll be 36 when the next season starts.

What's next: Speculation is swirling over whether the Suns will fire head coach Frank Vogel after just one year with the team.

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