NBA legend Charles Barkley has shared his thoughts on the Phoenix Suns’ recent trade involving center Deandre Ayton, expressing his belief that the organization was eager to move on from the former top overall pick. Barkley’s comments shed light on potential issues within the Suns’ ranks and the implications of the trade for both the Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks.
Charles Barkley Weighs In on Phoenix Suns’ Decision to Trade DeAndre Ayton
During a segment on NBA TV, Barkley hinted at underlying problems between Ayton and Suns head coach Monty Williams. He suggested that there might have been additional factors at play within the organization, leading to the decision to part ways with Ayton. Despite the circumstances surrounding the trade, Barkley acknowledged the Milwaukee Bucks as the primary beneficiaries.
"With the Suns, something was going on with Deandre Ayton. It goes back to there was an issue with Monty Williams and Deandre Ayton. Now it must have been something else going on in the organization. (Phoenix) clearly just wanted to get rid of him." Charles Barkley on trade #Suns pic.twitter.com/iAuNsVR4cG
— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) September 27, 2023
Sources confirmed that the Suns traded Ayton as part of a three-team deal, which involved the Portland Trail Blazers and the Milwaukee Bucks. In return, Phoenix received Jusuf Nurkic, Nassir Little, Keon Johnson, and Grayson Allen. The Suns also sent Toumani Camara, a second-round pick, to the Blazers.
Barkley commended the Suns for their other major moves, particularly the acquisition of Bradley Beal. However, he stopped short of labeling them as favorites in the Western Conference. Barkley expressed admiration for the Los Angeles Lakers’ offseason activity, considering them along with the Suns as the frontrunners in the West.
Acknowledging the defending champions, the Denver Nuggets, Barkley noted that they had lost some significant role players. He cautioned against underestimating the Nuggets but maintained that the Lakers and the Suns were the top contenders in the conference. In the Eastern Conference, Barkley identified the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks as the teams to watch.
Looking ahead to the upcoming season, Barkley emphasized the importance of young players stepping up for the Nuggets, as they would be relying on them in crucial moments against the Suns and the Lakers. He highlighted upcoming key matchups for the Suns, including their season opener against the Golden State Warriors and a game against the Nuggets on December 1, a rematch of their intense playoff series.
Barkley concluded by praising the offseason moves made by various teams, including the Celtics, the Bucks, and his beloved Phoenix Suns. With the Lakers’ impressive roster changes and the Nuggets as defending champions, Barkley expressed excitement about the upcoming season and the potential storylines that will unfold.
As the Suns embark on their preseason schedule, fans eagerly await the regular season opener to witness how the team will fare following the trade. The departure of Ayton and the addition of new players have undoubtedly reshaped the Suns’ dynamics, setting the stage for an intriguing season ahead.
The NBA landscape continues to evolve, and with teams making significant moves, the 2023-2024 season promises to be an exciting and highly competitive one. Fans can expect intense battles between the Suns, Lakers, Nuggets, Celtics, and Bucks as they vie for supremacy on the court.