Monty Williams doesn’t like to address distractions from the media about the Suns unless the rumors have passed.
The reigning NBA Coach of the Year explained his unfazed reaction to his team’s involvement in the two-month Kevin Durant trade talks during a SiriusXM Radio interview on Thursday.
The interview came three days after the Brooklyn Nets and their 12-time All-Star reconciled following his trade request on June 30 at the start of free agency. Durant listed the Suns and Miami Heat as his preferred trade destinations.
“I never talked to any of our guys about that,” Williams said. “One, people don’t understand how hard trades are to pull off. When I first heard about the Kevin Durant stuff, I was kind of blown away by it just because, you know, we’ve been so blessed here to have guys want to come.
“At the same time, ‘At the expense of what?’ was my thinking. And I like our team. I love our guys. But I wasn’t going to have conversations that didn’t need to be had.”
Phoenix, who had the league’s best regular season record and its franchise-best 64 wins last season, and an NBA finals appearance the year prior, would have essentially had to give up many of the core players who helped make the Suns into title contenders just to acquire Durant.
Brooklyn didn’t find a trade suitor after they demanded an All-Star caliber player, solid role players and first-round draft picks in exchange for Durant. In August 2021, he signed a four-year extension for $198 million, which kicks in this upcoming season.
All-star Devin Booker couldn’t be part of a proposed trade talks from Phoenix because he’s entering the penultimate year of his five-year rookie max deal. The Suns in early July also signed him to a 4-year, $224 million supermax extension.
There’s a stipulation in the NBA and the league’s Players Association’s collective bargaining agreement that a player on a rookie max deal can’t be traded to a team that already has one player who was traded from a former team that signed them to a rookie max deal .
That applies to Brooklyn’s Ben Simmons, who was traded from the Philadelphia 76ers in February, and is on a rookie max deal he signed with his former team in 2019.
The Suns’ Defensive Player of the Year runner-up Mikal Bridges, Sixth Man of the Year runner-up Cam Johnson, their starting center Deandre Ayton and veteran starting power forward Jae Crowder were among names speculated as part of the talks between Brooklyn and Phoenix.
“I think our guys are mature enough to understand that part of our business,” Williams added. “I didn’t want to have conversations about stuff that didn’t need to be brought up. Part of it is because I’ve been in the business so long. It’s just hard to pull trades off.”
On Monday, Bridges seemingly tweeted his glib hot take about himself and other players included in the Durant rumors.
“I’m just sittin here watching just like y’all lol,” Bridges said.
The Nets reportedly didn’t want Ayton, who was a restricted free agent coming off his rookie deal earlier this summer, in a sign-and-trade because he would’ve cost too much against their salary cap.
There were more rumors about the Suns looking for a possible three- or four-team deal to ship Ayton, who was a restricted free agent, off to another team to help facilitate a deal.
Phoenix matched the Indiana Pacers’ four-year, $133 million max offer for Ayton on July 15. Booker and Ayton’s deals basically took the Suns out of the running for a trade because of their luxury tax costs they’ll incur for this upcoming year, which includes their nine other guaranteed contracts to be paid.
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