Devin Booker said in 2018, “This is probably my last year ever not making the playoffs.”
The Suns missed the playoffs in 2019 and 2020 and face a difficult path for making the 2021 playoffs.
Ryen Russillo on The Bill Simmons Podcast:
The worst-kept secret in the league is Booker already wants out of there.
Stars often want to leave losing teams. But does Booker want to leave Phoenix? I’m less convinced. Even more than stars want to leave losing teams, people love to talk about stars leaving losing teams. These assessments can quickly gain momentum with little underlying reason.
This rumor sounds mostly circumstantial.
Maybe Booker will eventually request a trade. The Suns just had their best season with him. They went 34-39. At some point, Booker surely wants to see more team success.
He did his part last season, advancing into a genuine star rather than someone whose dazzling numbers outshined his contributions to winning. Though Booker has (admirably) repeatedly talked about looking in the mirror for improvement, he could eventually pin the blame elsewhere.
But Phoenix’s 8-0 bubble performance was encouraging, and Deandre Ayton could be a nice young co-star for Booker. Booker also has four years left on his contract. The Suns, whether or not he loves their methodology, are built around him.
It’s difficult to see this situation spiraling into a trade any time soon.
But with other teams so interested in prying Booker loose, expect this chatter to continue.
The best thing Phoenix can do to silence it: Win. Otherwise, Booker’s desire to reach the playoffs could very well lead to a breakup with the Suns – down the road.