Former No. 1 overall pick, Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, butted heads with coach Monty Williams last season when Williams benched the top pick in Game 7 (Conference Semifinals) against the Dallas Mavericks, which the Suns lost, 123-90.
Ayton spoke with Suns media on Tuesday, the first day of training camp, and wasn’t coy about his strained relationship with the coach. He said the two hadn’t spoken all offseason, which almost involved Ayton leaving Phoenix.
“I haven’t spoken to [Williams] at all, ever since the game,” Ayton said. “I can show him better than I can tell him. It’s life. Nobody cares about the uncomfortable nature of it, it’s how you perform and what you bring to the table. What’s said is already said.”
The two nearly split paths as Ayton entered the free-agent market with a restricted tag. The Indiana Pacers put in an offer for Ayton, but Phoenix matched their bid and signed the big man to a four-year, $133 million deal.
As ESPN’s Brian Windhorst relayed, Williams addressed the Ayton beef, stating that he was fairly disconnected from players all offseason.
“I haven’t talked to a lot of guys,” Williams responded.
“I think 1-on-1s are always needed between guys I’ve been around for a while,” Williams said. “Some guys need it and some guys don’t. I’ll identify that as the season progresses. I’ll talk to everybody as I always do during camp and it won’t be an issue at all.”
The Suns finished atop the NBA in the 2021-22 regular season with a 64-18 record.
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