The Phoenix Suns’ shocking Game 7 defeat against the Dallas Mavericks continues to ripple through the organization. In that game, Deandre Ayton played just 17 minutes and got into a verbal altercation with head coach Monty Williams. Ayton entered the offseason as a restricted free-agent expecting a max offer, but to receive that offer, he had to wait several days for the Pacers to come knocking on his door. Phoenix, surprisingly, matched that offer right away after declining to offer Ayton a max extension before the season.
At media day, Ayton appeared quite listless while fielding question, which doesn’t track with his usual jovial demeanor. He was asked about his reaction to Phoenix matching his offer sheet and responded with, “I am happy. It’s all done with, I guess.” It wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of his current relationship with the organization. In fairness, everyone in the Suns organization is still processing the fallout of the Robert Sarver report and that could have contributed to the somber vibe of their media day.
However, after their first practice, Ayton was asked how he and Monty were able to move past their dispute in Game 7 and it did not go well.
Deandre Ayton said he and Monty Williams have not spoken about their sideline incident in Game 7: pic.twitter.com/Z9rHYHr5yX
— Gerald Bourguet (@GeraldBourguet) September 27, 2022
Wow, seems like it's something.
DA, first up after opening practice: "I haven’t spoken to Monty. I haven’t spoken at all, ever since the game. (Long pause). I’m here."
Since then, there's been 4.5 months, a whole free agency, signing a max contract…
— The Bright Side (@BrightSideSun) September 27, 2022
Deandre Ayton, former No. 1 overall pick who made integral contributions to the Suns’ finals run and is currently on a max contract, has not spoken to his coach in over four months. It’s pretty difficult to go through an entire NBA practice without speaking to your head coach. Even more concerning was Ayton’s demeanor while answering questions about his relationship with Monty. The dynamic between Ayton and Williams has the potential to derail the Suns season, and at the very least it will be the defining storyline of the Suns preseason.