Deandre Ayton: Monty Williams hasn’t spoken to him since Game 7 vs. Mavs
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton did not quell concerns about his unhappiness at media day Monday.
And on Tuesday, while he reiterated he will show up to work for the organization and his teammates, his relationship with Monty Williams is not in a good place dating back to the head coach pulling him from Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Dallas Mavericks.
“I haven’t spoken to Monty. I haven’t spoken to him at all. Ever since the game,” Ayton told reporters at practice.
Ayton reiterated that he is ready to work on the court and for the Suns. He was asked if he’s happy in Phoenix.
“Yeah, I’m alright,” he said.
When asked what he would like to say to his head coach, Ayton said: “I can show him better than I can tell him.”
Williams told reporters Tuesday he has given his players a break and that he has not talked “to a lot of guys.” The head coach attempted to downplay the team’s Game 7 loss and said the Suns addressed it Monday night.
Williams added that he did not think the Ayton situation could become problematic for the team.
“Not at all,” he said.
The Suns on July 14 matched an offer sheet that Ayton signed to join the Indiana Pacers on a maximum four-year, $133 million deal.
On Monday, Williams spoke on how he and general manager James Jones never discussed allowing Ayton to walk in free agency after he averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds on 63% shooting last season.
Williams did hint at something of a rocky relationship with Ayton, who played 17 minutes in that Game 7 loss to the Mavericks.
“I think the thing that people don’t see is how much he’s been in the gym and how much better he’s gotten this summer,” Williams said Monday. “I think having all that stuff behind him has given him a sense of relief. I think when players know you want them around and value them, it gives them confidence. That doesn’t mean you don’t have situations that come up — that’s part of coaching and part of being on a really good team with competitive players.
“There wasn’t a scenario where we felt like he wasn’t going to be around. He’s too good of a player and he’s a good dude. There’s times where you bump heads on certain issues, but that doesn’t define a person in totality. I think sometimes that stuff just gets blown out of proportion and rightfully so when you don’t know all the facts.”