Suns’ Monty Williams hints at ‘internal’ reasons for only playing Deandre Ayton 17 minutes in Game 7 loss

Suns’ Monty Williams hints at ‘internal’ reasons for only playing Deandre Ayton 17 minutes in Game 7 loss

The Phoenix Suns’ season ended in devastating fashion on Sunday as they lost Game 7 of their second-round series with the Dallas Mavericks, 123-90. Their 33-point loss was the worst Game 7 home loss since the St. Louis Bombers lost by 39 in 1948.

While the night didn’t go as planned for anyone on the Suns, it was particularly difficult for Deandre Ayton. The big man finished with five points and four rebounds in just 17 minutes of action. Part of that was due to the nature of the game, but even in such a burst, most Suns starters still played over 30 minutes.

A postgame comment from Suns head coach Monty Williams only added to the intrigue.

Asked about Ayton’s lack of playing time, Williams said, “it’s internal.” When pressed to comment on this quote, he declined.

Star keeper Devin Booker, meanwhile, hasn’t really pleaded for Ayton to return next season.

“His contractual situation is between him and the front office”, booker said. “I care about him as a brother. I just make sure his mind is good… whatever happens, happens. It’s hard to look so far into the future.”

Ayton didn’t speak to the media after the match, so we don’t know his side of the story. The Suns will have exit talks in the coming days though, so we should hear from him at some point in the near future.

In any case, his lack of playing time and the Suns’ premature exit from the playoffs do not bode well for Ayton’s future with the club. As Booker mentioned in his quote, Ayton is expected to enter restricted free agency this summer.

The two sides couldn’t reach an agreement on an extension last year, and Ayton was unhappy with the franchise after failing to secure a maximum deal worth $172.5 million over five years. according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst. Although the Suns may have been open to a shorter max deal, no formal offer was ever made.

What all of that means for this summer is hard to say. Ayton may want to go elsewhere and meet other clubs to see if he will be given a real max deal. The Suns can match any offer sheet, though, and it’s hard to imagine they’ll just let it walk without getting anything in return, which opens up the possibility of a sign and trade. . Of course, there is always a chance that things will calm down over the next few weeks, and Ayton will either sign a new long-term contract with the club or accept the 16-year qualifying offer, $4 million.

Either way, Ayton’s situation is going to be fascinating to watch.

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