EMPIRE OF THE SUNS
Devin Booker’s latest commitment to Phoenix Suns further cements legacy
The National Basketball Association can only go so long without one of its star players asking for a trade.
Sometimes, it festers and is expected, like Carmelo Anthony in Denver or James Harden in Houston or James Harden in Brooklyn or wherever James Harden is next.
Sometimes, it comes out of nowhere, like Kevin Durant’s on Thursday afternoon three hours before the start of free agency.
Every occurrence should serve as a reminder to Phoenix Suns fans that Devin Booker did not join that club when it was well within his right to given the amount of turmoil surrounding the organization before its revival began in 2019.
As he said after the Suns won the Western Conference in 2021, Booker was committed to his vision.
“I put my head down, I worked and I’ve been through a lot of (expletive) honestly,” he said in June of last year. “But, just being who I am and seeing the bigger picture, having the tunnel vision you know what this can be … So the love has been there since I’ve been here, even when we were at the bottom.
“Even when we were at the bottom, it still showed up to games, love around the city’s always been there. So Phoenix is my city.”
It’s an impressive commitment that already puts him among the greats in franchise history, and after Thursday’s report of his four-year supermax extension that would have him signed through 2028 being finalized, there’s a good chance that he winds up as the great of all greats in franchise history.
If Booker keeps up his scoring pace for the next two-plus seasons, he will pass Walter Davis on the all-time points leaderboard by the time he’s 29 years old.
He helped the Suns reach their first NBA Finals in nearly 30 years, and a year later, set the franchise record for wins. None of that is possible without him and it is primarily because of him, something he has spearheaded before he even hit his prime. Imagine what comes for him next.
He is the reason the Suns have been able to revitalize their image, perception and standing. Yes, names like general manager James Jones and head coach Monty Williams deserve credit too. So does Chris Paul. But Paul came to Phoenix because he wanted to play with Booker. Durant might too.
Think about that for a second. Two future Hall of Famers near the height of their powers preferring to come to the Valley less than five years after the Suns won a combined 87 games in four seasons. How else does that happen?
There is a sense of foreboding energy hanging over Phoenix after the way things ended last postseason. But its got Booker, and he’s set to just now start playing out his best years of basketball with the Suns, all while becoming of the league’s main faces as the next cover athlete for NBA2K.
It feels silly to even suggest there’s anything rocky about what’s ahead for them as long as Booker is in a Suns jersey.
That’s not changing anytime soon.