Suns’ Crowder will not be with team during training camp, expected to be traded

The Phoenix Suns and forward Jae Crowder have mutually agreed that he will not be with the club for training camp, the team announced Sunday.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the two sides will work on a trade.

Last season, Crowder, whose role was expected to change with Cam Johnson being inserted in the starting lineup, started 67 games for the Suns and averaged 9.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest.

The 32-year-old is scheduled to make $10.1 million in the final year of his contract and has helped Phoenix have a lot of success during his two seasons with the team, including a vital role on the team that made the NBA Finals in the 2020-21 season. 

Crowder can help a team and is a winning player. The 10-year veteran has been to the Finals in two of the last three seasons(Heat, Suns).

Robert Sarver plans to sell Suns/Mercury

Phoenix Suns/Mercury owner Robert Sarver will sell the teams, he announced in a statement on Wednesday.

The 60-year-old has decided it’s in the best interest to sell the Suns and Mercury(WNBA) after the league suspended him for one year and fined him $10 million following the findings of an independent investigation of Sarver, which concluded he used the N-word on five occasions during his tenure with the Suns/Mercury organization, engaged in instances of inequitable conduct toward female employees, made many sex-related comments in the workplace, made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women, and on several occasions engaged in inappropriate physical conduct toward male employees. 

In addition, the report stated that Sarver engaged in demeaning and harsh treatment of employees, including yelling and cursing at them.

In his statement, Sarver felt today’s society would not allow him to make amends for his past actions.

“As a man of faith, I believe in atonement and the path to forgiveness,” Sarver said in his statement. “I expected that the commissioner’s one-year suspension would provide the time for me to focus, make amends and remove my personal controversy from the teams that I and so many fans love.

“But in our current unforgiving climate, it has become painfully clear that that is no longer possible — that whatever good I have done, or could still do, is outweighed by things I have said in the past. For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver believes it is best for Sarver to sell the team and said the following in a statement discussing Sarver’s decision.

“I fully support the decision by Robert Sarver to sell the Phoenix Suns and Mercury,” Silver said. “This is the right next step for the organization and community.”

The entity that owns the Suns, Suns Legacy Partners, LLC, also agrees with Sarver’s choice to sell the team.

“We agree that Robert Sarver’s decision to sell the Suns and Mercury is in the best interest of the organization and community,” the statement read.

“We also know that today’s news does not change the work that remains in front of us to create, maintain and protect a best-in-class experience for our staff, players, fans, partners, and community.

“As we’ve shared with our employees, we acknowledge the courage of the people who came forward in this process to tell their stories and apologize to those hurt.

“We are on a journey that began before last November, one that has included changes to leadership, staff, and accountability measures. While we are proud of our progress and the culture of respect and integrity we are building, we know there remains work to do and relationships to rebuild. We are committed to doing so for our staff, players, fans, partners, and this community.”

Pistons, Suns, Mavs announce preseason schedules

The NBA season is almost upon us, but before we get to the regular season, teams must prepare during training camp and preseason.

The Mavericks, Pistons, and Suns announced their preseason schedules on Thursday.

The NBA regular season begins on October 18.

Dallas Mavericks:

The Dallas Mavericks  preseason schedule tips off on October 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the BOK Center.

Following their matchup with the Thunder, the Mavericks will host No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero and the Orlando Magic at American Airlines Center on Friday, Oct. 7, at 7:30 p.m. CT. Dallas will then conclude its exhibition season with a playoff rematch against the Jazz in Utah on Friday, Oct. 14, at 8 p.m. CT.

2022 DALLAS MAVERICKS PRESEASON SCHEDULE:

DATE

OPPONENT

TIME (CT)

LOCATION

VENUE

TV

Wed. Oct. 5

@ Oklahoma City

7:00 p.m.

Tulsa, OK

BOK Center

Mavs.com

Fri. Oct. 7

vs. Orlando

7:30 p.m.

Dallas

American Airlines Center

BSSW

Fri., Oct. 14

@ Utah

8:00 p.m.

Salt Lake City

Vivint Arena

BSSW

Detroit Pistons:

The Detroit Pistons preseason schedule features two home and two away games. Detroit will host the Oklahoma City Thunder (10/11) and the Memphis Grizzlies (10/13).

The Pistons will first travel to New York (10/4) to take on the Knicks and then to New Orleans (10/7) to face the Pelicans before returning to Detroit for the home slate. The Knicks game will be televised nationally on TNT.

Phoenix Suns:

The Phoenix Suns will play a four-game preseason schedule in preparation for the 2022-23 regular season, playing two home games at Footprint Center and two road games.

The Suns’ full 2022 preseason schedule is listed below.

DATE OPPONENT SITE TIME (PT)

Sun., Oct. 2

Adelaide 36ers (NBL)

Footprint Center, Phoenix

7:00 p.m.

Wed., Oct. 5

Los Angeles Lakers

T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas

7:00 p.m.

Mon., Oct. 10

Denver Nuggets

Ball Arena, Denver

6:00 p.m.

Wed., Oct. 12

Sacramento Kings

Footprint Center, Phoenix

7:00 p.m.

 

Suns sign Ish Wainright to two-way contract

The Phoenix Suns re-signed forward Ish Wainright, the team announced Thursday.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, it’s a two-way NBA contract.

The Suns initially signed Wainright in October, and he made his NBA debut in November. He played the previous three seasons internationally in Germany and France.

Wainright, 27, played in 45 regular season games for the Suns last season, averaging 2.4 points and 1.2 rebounds in 8.0 minutes per game. Over his final two games of the season, the 6-5 guard totaled a combined 35 points on 14-of-29 from the field and 7-of-16 from three-point range, plus 11 rebounds, seven steals, and four assists.

Most recently, Wainright averaged 11.0 points on 42.1% from the field and 41.4% from three-point range, plus 3.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals in five games for the Suns at the 2022 NBA Summer League last month in Las Vegas. He also represented Uganda at the FIBA Basketball World Cup African Qualifiers in July, averaging team highs of 19.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists.

Phoenix recently signed Duane Washington Jr. to a two-way contract, and with the addition of Wainright, they have reached the maximum of amount of two-way players(two).

Suns sign Duane Washington Jr. to two-way contract

The Phoenix Suns have signed free agent guard Duane Washington Jr., the team announced Wednesday.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a two-way contract. 

The 22-year-old went undrafted in the 2021 draft out of Ohio State and signed a two-way contract with the Pacers, which was converted to a standard contract in April.

Indiana would waive Washington in July.

Last season, Washington averaged 9.9 points on 40.5% shooting from the field, 37.7% from three-point range, and 75.4% from the free throw line in 48 games with Indiana. Among qualified NBA rookies, he ranked 12th in points per game, third in three-point percentage, and ninth with 81 made three-pointers. 

He set a Pacers rookie record by making seven three-pointers at New Orleans on Jan. 24. He also appeared in 11 games with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA G League last season, averaging 19.5 points, 4.4 assists, and 3.4 rebounds.

Washington will have an opportunity to compete for the backup point guard spot behind Chris Paul in Phoenix.

Monty Williams: ‘It’s a blessing to be head coach of the Phoenix Suns’

The Phoenix Suns and head coach Monty Williams have agreed to a multi-year contract extension, the team announced Wednesday.

Williams, 50, had two years left on his original five-year deal.

“Monty has raised the standard for our organization and overseen the transformation of our team’s culture since he joined as head coach three years ago,” said General Manager James Jones via a statement from the team announcing the move. “We’re excited to announce this extension and look forward to continuing to build upon this success in the years ahead.”

The 2021-22 NBA Coach of the Year, in addition to being selected by his peers as the NBCA Coach of the Year winner for both 2020-21 and 2021-22, Williams is heading into his fourth season as the Suns’ head coach since joining the organization in 2019. 

In his first three seasons as head coach, the Suns have become the first team in NBA history to increase their win total by at least 13 wins in three consecutive seasons, recording one Western Conference title, two Pacific Division titles, and two playoff appearances. 

Last season, Williams and the Suns set a franchise record by winning 64 games and finished with the NBA’s best record by eight games above the second best. However, the season ended in disappointment as Phoenix lost to the Mavericks in 7 in the second round of the playoffs.

“I’m grateful to extend my commitment to this team and to all the people who make it a special place,” said Williams. “Our players put in the work every day that allows us to be successful, and I’m excited to continue this journey with them. I appreciate the constant effort of our staff and every member of the Suns organization; it is a joy to work alongside them all. Our fans are incredible and have made my family, and I feel so welcome in the Valley. I’m thankful for them and look forward to continue to work in the community here.

“This is a get to, not a got to. It’s a blessing to be head coach of the Phoenix Suns.”

In 2020-21, Williams led the Suns to the NBA’s second-best record and the team’s first Pacific Division title since 2007. This preceded a memorable playoff run in which the Suns won a franchise postseason record nine straight games on the way to the third Western Conference title in team history and first since 1993. Unfortunately, the Suns would lose to the Bucks in the NBA Finals.

Suns’ Jones: We are excited to keep Deandre(Ayton) at home in the Valley where he belongs

The Phoenix Suns have re-signed center Deandre Ayton to a multi-year contract, the team announced Monday.

According to reports, Ayton, who was a restricted free agent, signed a four-year, $133 million offer sheet(largest offer sheet in league history) with the Indiana Pacers, which the Suns later matched. 

“Deandre is a force on both ends of the floor, who has elevated his game every year and will continue to do so,” said General Manager James Jones said via press release from team. “DA is so important to what we do, and without him, we could not have reached our recent levels of success. We are excited to keep Deandre at home in the Valley where he belongs.”

Ayton (6-11, 250 pounds) is coming off the 2021-22 season in which he averaged 17.2 points on a career-high and franchise-record 63.4% shooting plus 10.2 rebounds, ranking in the NBA’s top ten in both field goal percentage and rebounds per game for the second consecutive season. He recorded his 3,000th career point and 2,000th career rebound this past season, becoming the second-fastest player to reach these milestones in a Suns uniform behind only Charles Barkley.

“I’m happy to put free agency behind me and ready to work and compete for a championship with my teammates,” said Ayton via press release from team.

Through his first four NBA seasons, Ayton holds career averages of 16.3 points on 59.9% shooting from the field plus 10.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 236 games with the Suns. His 59.9% field goal percentage is the highest by a player averaging a double-double through four seasons in NBA history. He joins Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal as the only players to average a double-double on at least 57% shooting through four career seasons. 

The 23-year-old Ayton has appeared in 35 postseason games with the Suns over the last two seasons, averaging 16.6 points on 65.1% from the field and 10.7 rebounds in those games, the only player ever to average at least 15 points, and 10 rebounds on over 60% shooting through his first 35 career postseason games. He was pivotal during the Suns’ run to the NBA Finals in 2021, averaging 15.8 points and 11.8 rebounds, with his 65.8% marking the highest field goal percentage by a player in a single postseason in NBA history (min. 100 FGM), breaking a record previously set by James Worthy in 1985.

The first No. 1 overall pick in Suns’ history, Ayton was the top selection in the 2018 NBA Draft after one season at the University of Arizona. A native of Nassau, Bahamas, he became the first No. 1 pick in NBA history to be selected by a team in the same state where he played basketball in high school (Phoenix’s Hillcrest Prep) and college. 

Suns announce signings of Okogie, Lee, Biyombo

The Phoenix Suns signed guards Josh Okogie and Damion Lee and re-signed center Bismack Biyombo, the team announced Tuesday.

The contracts for Okogie, Lee, and Biyombo are reportedly one-year deals.

Okogie did not receive a qualifying offer from Minnesota and became an unrestricted free agent.

Last season, the 23-year-old averaged 2.7 points per contest. In his first four NBA seasons, all with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he averaged 6.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.0 steals in 244 games, including 123 starts. The 6-4 guard has 60 career games scoring in double figures and 57 career games with multiple steals.

The Nigerian native is a Nigerian men’s national team member and entered the NBA as the 20th overall pick by the Timberwolves in the 2018 NBA Draft. He attended high school in Georgia and played on the national AAU circuit with Team CP3.

Lee (6-5, 210 pounds) played the last four seasons with the Golden State Warriors, winning an NBA Championship with the team last month. He appeared in 63 games for the Warriors this past regular season, averaging 7.4 points on 44.1% from the field and 88.0% from the free-throw line, plus 3.2 rebounds in 19.9 minutes. The 29-year-old also played in 16 postseason games during Golden State’s playoff run.

A five-year NBA veteran, Lee holds career averages of 8.2 points and 3.5 rebounds in 216 games with the Warriors and the Atlanta Hawks.Lee made his NBA debut with Atlanta in 2018 and began playing professionally with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA G League in the 2016-17 season.

Biyombo (6-8, 255 pounds) first signed with the Suns on January 1 last season and played in 36 games, averaging 5.8 rebounds on 59.3% shooting plus 4.6 rebounds in 14.1 minutes.

He recorded six double-doubles and 10 games scoring in double figures, including a season-high 21 points to go with 13 rebounds and five assists on Jan. 22 vs. Indiana. Biyombo also appeared in nine playoff games this past postseason.

An 11-year NBA veteran, Biyombo has played in 738 career games, making 310 starts, with Charlotte, Toronto, Orlando, and the Suns, holding career averages of 5.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks. Biyombo has also appeared in 32 career playoff games, averaging 4.9 points on 59.3% shooting plus 6.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks;

The 29-year-old was originally the seventh overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft by Sacramento before being traded to Charlotte on draft night.

Biyombo gave Phoenix decent minutes last season. Depending on what happens with Deandre Ayton, he could have a more significant role with this team. Lee brings some scoring off the bench, and Okogie is a solid defender.

Suns name Morgan Cato assistant GM, VP of basketball operations

The Phoenix Suns named Morgan Cato assistant general manager and vice president of basketball operations, the team announced Monday.

With the hire, Cato becomes the first woman of color in NBA history to be an assistant GM.

“We’re excited to welcome Morgan to the Valley and to the Suns organization,” Suns General Manager James Jones said via a press release. “With the league office Morgan played a pivotal role on countless initiatives to grow the game and strategically develop for it to be played at its best. The addition of her background and knowledge will allow us to elevate our basketball operations in several areas.”

According to the team, Cato will report to Jones and work with Head Coach Monty Williams to lead the team’s strategy and business processes for basketball growth and performance with a focus on coaching development, player engagement and front office personnel operations. Cato becomes the first woman of color to hold the Assistant General Manager title for an NBA team. 

Cato joins the Suns after spending the last decade with the NBA league office, most recently as Associate Vice President of Business Operations for NBA League Operations. 

Suns’ Monty Williams talks Deandre Ayton

Before the start of the regular season, Suns center Deandre Ayton was hoping to get a max extension from the Phoenix Suns. However, the two sides could not agree on a contract.

The former number one overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft played well this season. Like his previous three seasons in the league, Ayton averaged a double-double with 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds a game, including a career-high 63% shooting.

This season, Ayton had some big moments, including scoring a playoff career-high 28 points against the Pelicans in the first round, but things ended sourly for the four-year veteran.

In Game 7, Ayton, like the rest of his teammates, struggled against the Mavericks. In 17 minutes of action, he had five points and four rebounds. After the 123-90 loss to the Mavs that eliminated Phoenix from the playoffs, Suns head coach Monty Williams was asked why Ayton played only 17 minutes, and his response, “It’s internal.”

On Monday, at his end-of-the-season Zoom call, Williams elaborated a little more on Ayton’s situation. According to Williams, he has not spoken to Ayton individually and explained part of the reason he removed Ayton from the game for good with just over eight minutes left in the fourth.

“You guys know me well enough; I’m going to do everything I can to help us win games,” he said. “And at that point, with the lead where it was, I made a decision not to put him back in the game.”

At season’s end, the 6-11 Ayton will be a restricted free agent, and Williams said the team would figure out Ayton’s contract situation in the next couple of months.

“Deandre’s situation is something that we’ll deal with this summer,” Williams said. “I don’t want to say anything in regards to that.”

Ayton is one of the better centers in basketball, but you do wonder if he’s worth a max contract, especially after what may have transpired in Game 7 between him and Williams, which reportedly was an exchange of words as Ayton returned to the bench. 

However, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, there will be teams willing to give Ayton a max deal, so it appears if the Suns don’t pay him, somebody will.

At age 23, Ayton is still improving. He’s improved his shot and has been a walking double-double since entering the league. Based on what happened with the Suns this season and them not winning a title, there might not be a justification to pay Ayton, which means he could be elsewhere next season.

Watch below as Williams discussing Ayton and more.