The Phoenix Suns are hoping to sign Devin Booker to a contract extension as soon as possible, but they may have to smooth over some tension before the two sides sit down at the negotiating table.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports reports that Booker is upset with the Suns for releasing fellow guard Tyler Ulis, who is apparently a very close friend of Booker’s.
Sources: As he becomes eligible for five-year maximum rookie extension, Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker is upset with the front office over release of best friend Tyler Ulis, who started 43 games last season.
The Suns announced on Saturday that they have released Ulis, whose contract of $1.5 million for next season would have become guaranteed on Sunday. The move was not a big surprise after the team drafted French point guard Elie Okobo at No. 31 overall, but it apparently angered Booker.
Phoenix drafted Ulis in the second round of the 2016 NBA Draft, and they had high expectations for him heading into last season after his impressive rookie campaign. However, Ulis averaged just 7.8 points and 4.4 assists per game and failed to make a big leap.
Booker is part of an exciting young core for the Suns, who also entertained the idea of trading one of their former lottery picks on draft night. It would be a surprise if he doesn’t eventually sign a max extension, but a star player being angry with the front office is never a great thing.
The 22-year-old Towns, who averaged 21.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game this season, played his one-and-done year together with Booker at Kentucky in 2014-15. The team went 38-1 that season and made it to the Final Four.
Towns and Booker remain close, and it is possible that they were just goofing around when the photo was taken (the No. 1 jersey that Towns is wearing in it belongs to Booker). However, the tweet at least begs the question — the Suns do have a major need at the center position, but they also have the assets to swing a trade for a star like Towns (the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft as well as no fewer than six recent lottery picks on their roster besides Booker).
As for Towns himself, he is still on his rookie deal and can become a restricted free agent in 2019. A recent Wolves personnel move may have also upset him.
Sir Isaac Newton once stated, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” That was certainly true in the National Basketball Association on Tuesday with the naming of this year’s All-Star reserves.
Shortly after the news broke as to which players made the final cut for the East and the West, the outrage soon began among players who felt they were snubbed. Many took to Twitter to express their discontent, including LA Clippers guard Lou Williams, who is averaging 23.3 points a game this season:
Devin Booker may just be the most powerful 21-year-old in the world.
Phoenix Suns GM Ryan McDonough told the media on Thursday that the third-year guard will have input in the team’s decisions going forward.
“With his emergence and importance to not only what we’re doing in the short term but hopefully in the next decade-plus, I think it’s important to make him a partner in the process,” said McDonough, per Scott Bordow of AZCentral.
“Kind of show him the blueprint and vision we have not only for the rest of this season, but for the summers of 2018, 2019, 2020, etc.,” McDonough added. “In terms of what he thinks are important characteristics for a head coach to have, what’s important to us as an organization and how we build over a number of years.”
Booker, who is averaging a team-high 24.6 points per game this season, looks like Phoenix’s undisputed franchise cornerstone, and it is no surprise that they are treating him as such, even at such a young age. He has already noted one major move that he would like for the team to make, and it sounds like he will factor heavily into their decision-making process from here on out.
Jay Triano is getting the endorsement that matters — the one from his team’s franchise player.
Before the Phoenix Suns played the Dallas Mavericks on Monday, Suns guard Devin Booker said that he would like for Triano to remain as head coach.
“Me and Triano have that relationship. He’s somebody I’m comfortable with and somebody I’ve been around for a long time,” said Booker, according to The Arizona Republic. “I love Triano. I don’t make those calls but he’s been doing a wonderful job since he’s been here and I would vouch for him. He’s been really good.”
Triano, who previously served as head coach of the Toronto Raptors for three seasons, has been coaching the team on an interim basis since Earl Watson was fired in October just three games into the 2017-18 season. The Suns have gone 11-18 (.379) since Triano took over.
The mother of all NBA seasons is almost here. So as you finalize your League Pass subscriptions, complete your fantasy drafts, and prepare the guacamole for your watch parties, take some time to ponder the true meaning of the season — specifically, the benevolent stars who make such a joyous holiday possible with their prodigious athletic talents.
Here I present, each NBA team’s most important player heading into 2017-18:
Atlanta Hawks — Dennis Schroder, PG
“All my friends are dead,” said Schroder in his best Lil Uzi Vert voice as he gazed upon his roster following the respective exits of his last remaining All-Star teammates in Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard this summer. Yes, the Hawks are now as thin as a toothpick, and the incentive for them to “Do Badly for Bagley” or “Make The Fans Puka for Luka” will be enormous. But someone has to lead this JV squad, and their resident German is as good of an option as any. Perhaps we will see Dennis the Menace gun for 20 and 10. Maybe he develops some nice pick-and-roll chemistry with new additions Dewayne Dedmon and rookie John Collins. Perhaps he finally bleaches his entire head blonde. Anything to give this team a modicum of watchability this season.
Boston Celtics — Kyrie Irving
After selling an arm, a leg, and a hip for him this summer, the Celtics will hope that Irving’s performance in his first season with them does not fall flat. The outside noise in Uncle Drew’s ear will be deafening — mockery of his decision to ditch LeBron James and go off in search of his own empire, jeers at the perceived stagnation of his playmaking skills, pervasive meme treatments of his unorthodox views on astronomy. But Irving is here for one reason and one reason only: to ball out. And that’s what he’s gonna do. Just remember kids, there’s no such thing as distractions when you’re very much woke. [mic drop]