Just because the free agent frenzy has been somewhat light on star-power this time around — compared to recent years — there’s still been plenty of wheeling and dealing that is certain to shape the NBA landscape for years to come. Many teams that were already good refused to stay complacent, while other made bold moves to get over the hump.
Count the Phoenix Suns among the latter. After years spent wallowing at the bottom of the West, the Suns managed to swing a deal to land Chris Paul, instantly transforming them into a playoff threat. It meant giving up a talented young wing in Kelly Oubre Jr., but that was the cost of doing business for a team that has been spinning its wheels for so long.
From Oubre’s perspective, he’s happy to take his talents elsewhere. He’ll join a Warriors team on which he will likely play a more significant role in the immediate future, given Klay Thompson’s season-ending injury. And in general, Oubre seems happy to be out from under an owner who he believes values style over substance.
Here’s what Oubre had to say about Suns owner Robert Sarver after being traded to the Warriors, via Mike Deprisco of NBC Sports Washington:
“I can play for an owner — somebody who actually cares about the organization and not just the perception of the organization on the media end of it,” Oubre told 95.7 The Game in San Francisco. “It’s all about the foundation for me, man. You have a beautiful foundation, can build a beautiful [future].”
Oubre could be alluding to any number of problems over the past few years, whether it be poor decision-making in the draft, instability among personnel all across the organization, or the lack of showing much on-court progress, despite boasting one of the NBA’s most lethal scorers in Devin Booker. Sarver’s reputation around the league is not particularly good and this only further shows how some in the league feel about Phoenix’s ownership.
Now, with Chris Paul at the helm, Phoenix is in prime position to restore some semblance of respectability, but as always, they’ll face a gauntlet in the Western Conference, where several other teams improved their rosters significantly this offseason as well.