The Phoenix Suns held media day on Monday like the majority of the NBA did, and like Brooklyn, Boston, and L.A., there was some awkwardness and uncomfortability in the air.
For one, the Suns are still dealing with the fallout from the league’s investigation confirming reports of Robert Sarver’s inappropriate comments that have ultimately led to him announcing he will be selling the team. On top of that, this is a Suns squad that fell flat in the playoffs, getting blown out on their home court in Game 7 against the Mavs, leading to an offseason where they attempted to shake things up, only to return with most of the roster.
Jae Crowder was absent from media day as he and the team have agreed he won’t join the team while they work to find a trade for the veteran forward, but Deandre Ayton was in attendance, after the Suns eventually matched an offer sheet the young star big man received from the Indiana Pacers — after failing to find a sign-and-trade deal for him. Ayton was asked about how he felt when the Suns matched the offer and he got to return to Phoenix and, well, he didn’t really sell the “I’m happy” part of a very short answer.
Deandre Ayton seems thrilled to be back in Phoenix pic.twitter.com/Mn4Lkh6pP5
— SB Nation (@SBNation) September 26, 2022
Ayton isn’t always effervescent in media situations, but it sure seemed notable how down he appeared at the podium on Monday. Between the way last year ended, with him being benched in Game 7, and how media day started, it sure seems like there’s still work to be done to mend the team’s relationship with the young big man. Even so, he’s there and will move forward with the Suns for at least the foreseeable future, although the vibes coming into this season couldn’t feel much more different than how positive everything was entering last year coming off a Finals run.