Teams that blew it with Kevin Durant: Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns don’t have the same excuses that the Raptors and Grizzlies can use: That they are worried about losing young talent and extensive contention windows.
Yes, the Suns do have young players that they already have secured for years. Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges are under contract through 2026, Devin Booker through 2028, and on the older end of the age spectrum, they also have Chris Paul through 2025.
One could see that kind of a payroll sheet as an indicator of a long title window, but Paul might start declining rapidly soon as he closes in on 40 years old. They’ve already won a Western Conference title in the last few years, and like the Celtics, the time to push themselves over the hump is now, not later.
The Suns offered Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges, but all reports seem to hint that those were separate offers, not those players offered together. Brooklyn would have been foolish to turn such a deal down, and the Suns could get themselves clarity on their title window by trading for Durant.
The problem is, the Suns actually messed this one up a while back. Deandre Ayton was signed to an extension in mid-July, which makes him ineligible to be involved in a trade until January.
The Suns can rectify this by striking a deal once he is trade eligible if Durant is available by then, but it’s going to cost them more. The most likely time for a bidding war on Durant is in January or February closer to the trade deadline.
With a relatively mature team and an aging point guard, the time to push all the chips to the middle was now. The Suns might have missed it, and they could watch the Booker-Paul era pass them by with no title to show for it because of it.