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#pounditSaturday, June 22, 2024

Crazy fact about Suns goes viral after Deandre Ayton trade

Deandre Ayton during a Suns game

Apr 19, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) against the New Orleans Pelicans during game two of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns’ NBA Finals appearance was only a little over two years ago, but you certainly would not know it by looking at their current roster.

Phoenix finally pulled the trigger on a Deandre Ayton trade on Tuesday, sending their former No. 1 overall pick to the Portland Trail Blazers as part of the multi-team blockbuster for Damian Lillard. The move ends Ayton’s up-and-down Suns tenure after five seasons.

In the aftermath of Ayton being dealt, a wild fact about the Suns went viral. Now Devin Booker is the only player left from their 2021 NBA Finals team.

Phoenix gutted most of their team to land two superstars to team up with Booker (Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal). Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, and Jae Crowder (three of their top seven guys from that 2021 Finals team) were included in the multi-team Durant blockbuster last February. Then, two more (Chris Paul and Cameron Payne) became casualties of the Beal trade last June — Paul going back to Washington as the centerpiece of the deal, and Payne getting dumped in a separate trade because of the ensuing financial limitations. With Ayton now heading to Portland and the natural season-to-season turnover of bench players beyond that, Booker is the only piece left standing in Phoenix.

What is even crazier is that much of the Suns’ leadership from that 2021 team has changed too. Coach Monty Williams is gone (fired and replaced by Frank Vogel), and so is owner Robert Sarver (ousted and replaced by Mat Ishbia). Nonetheless, Phoenix fans still have plenty reason to be excited as the Booker-Beal-Durant trio (plus some interesting additions this summer) may stand a better chance of helping the team achieve their ultimate goal — winning the first championship in franchise history.

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