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Deandre Ayton Reveals That He And Monty Williams Haven't Said A Word To Each Other Since Their Game 7 Drama

Dustin Bradford. Getty Images.

Take a journey back in time with me to May 15th, 2022. 

On this day, the top seeded Phoenix Suns were at home with their season and title hopes on the line for a Game 7 against the 4th seeded Dallas Mavericks. Things didn't turn out so hot for the Suns (pun not intended but intended), as the Mavs kicked the ever-living shit out of the Suns to the tune of a 123-90 final score. Dallas got off to a good start with s 27-17 first quarter and essentially put the game away in the 2nd quarter by winning those 12 minutes by a score of 30-10. To really hammer that death nail in, they also won the 3rd 35-23, but by then the damage was done. Luka was awesome with 35/10 on 63/54% splits and 6 3PM, Jalen Brunson had 24 on 57/50% splits and Spencer Dinwiddie did his thing off the bench to the tune of 30 points on 73/71% splits. It was a massacre.

That was only half of the story though. In this all important game, we saw the Suns star center Deandre Ayton only play 17:27 of action. He finished with a measly 5/4/2 on 2-5 shooting (1-4 from the line) with 2 TOs and only 3 personal fouls. Monty Williams benched him and things went about as well as you could expect

When asked after the game why he did such a thing, Monty Williams didn't exactly give any details

This was a pretty big deal at the time not just because the Suns lost a huge Game 7 at home, but also what it meant for Ayton's pending free agency. The team didn't give him an early extension and very clearly didn't want to pay him. Unfortunately for them, the Pacers came calling with a big time offer sheet and the Suns suddenly were left with the decision to either pay Ayton or let him walk for nothing, something that would have been pretty tough for a team trying to win a title in their "win now" window.

Eventually, they bit the bullet and forked over the 4/132M contract that has Ayton's salary increasing in each season. You would think that was enough to put whatever beef there may have been between Ayton and Monty Williams to bed right?

Wrong.

Even though Ayton got his money, and even though Monty Williams still has a very talented center on his roster to help him get back to the Finals, if you listen to Ayton talk about their relationship things still don't seem great

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Listen, I'm not in the Suns locker room so I can't say for sure, but I would imagine that not talking to your head coach is a bit of an issue. Considering all the other drama and issues currently going on in PHX at the moment, that's not great. The question is, how normal is this? Do star players and coaches straight up not talk at all throughout the summer? If you listen to Monty explain it, he makes it seem like it's no big deal

Eh, I'm not sure I buy it. I'm to believe Monty Williams didn't talk to CP3 or Devin Booker or Mikal Bridges all offseason? I get maybe not talking to Ayton before he officially signed, but once he put pen to paper and it became official that he was staying with the Suns, you still don't reach out? Is there maybe more to why Jae Crowder is forcing his way out of PHX in addition to just losing his starting spot to Cam Johnson? 

I will say that I did like Ayton's answer in terms of how he could maybe fix his relationship with Monty. It doesn't matter what he says, it matters what he does. As they say, actions speak louder than words. Now that Ayton has his money, I wonder if with that comes whatever attitude adjustment Monty clearly felt he needs. If there's still going to be issues between those two I don't see how that cause problems throughout the year. The Suns frontcourt is way too thin this season to be straight up benching Ayton because you don't like the guy or anything like that. If I were a Suns fan I would be hoping that whatever beef there might still be can be squashed during training camp because this is a pretty important season for PHX. Chris Paul isn't getting any younger and who knows how long their title window is going to stay open. As we just saw with their 2021-22 season, there's no guarantee you even make it back to the WCF let alone the NBA Finals, and a huge part of getting there will be everyone on the team buying in and being on the same page.

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Kind of hard to do when your star center and head coach aren't even talking to each other I would think.