Chimezie Metu: Suns didn’t hear noise of Woj report about Kevin Durant’s frustration

Dec 29, 2023, 12:39 PM

Kevin Durant and Chimezie Metu, Phoenix Suns...

Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns reacts with Chimezie Metu #4 after a foul during the first half against the Portland Trail Blazers at Footprint Center on October 16, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Christmas time brought the Phoenix Suns the rotten gift of how social media can contextually twist things to create noise for a struggling star-studded team.

It started when ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski mentioned general frustration on Kevin Durant’s end during a Christmas Day broadcast. One Instagram account took the vague, apparently sourced report further by posting a single clip of Durant looking disengaged with a caption wondering whether Durant had checked out 30 games into a season where there’s still everything to play for.

And then Durant, who tends to speak freely on social media, took it further by commenting about how silly this was.

It didn’t help Luka Doncic dropped 50 points in a Dallas Mavericks win over Phoenix to cap the NBA’s Dec. 25 slate.

After all that, the Suns posted a solid win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday to tamp down the noise. But according to Suns forward Chimezie Metu, the team isn’t hearing much of it.

“I’ll be honest with you: I don’t think anybody mentioned that in here,” Metu said on Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta when asked Friday about Wojnarowski’s report. “It’s not something we discussed or talked about.

“From Day 1 since I’ve been here, K, he’s been the same way. He wants to come in and play basketball at the end of the day, like we all do. Come in, play, go home. Me, personally, I didn’t get any sense of frustration or anything from him. Like I said, we were going through a rough patch as a team as far as results are concerned. People are going to talk. I’m pretty sure that report wouldn’t have come out if we had won a couple (more) games in the last two weeks.”

Phoenix (15-15) has gone 4-9 in the past month of play with the lineup lacking consistency, though Bradley Beal is available to return Friday to help matters there.

The 129-113 win against the Rockets on Wednesday stood out for the Suns’ defensive efforts — Houston shot 42% — and offensive flow that included 28 assists and 57% shooting despite 19 turnovers.

“Guys are feeling good,” Metu said Friday before the Suns face the Charlotte Hornets. “Like you said, there was a lot of noise. I don’t think any of that affected us. We were just going through a little rough patch and, obviously, with the caliber of players we have on this team, people are going to start talking. Our biggest thing is staying together. Coach has been preaching that this whole season.”

The highlight-driven news cycle wasn’t helped by Wojnarowski, who had this to say Monday to spark the narrative about Durant specifically:

“They can feel the frustration with Durant,” he said on ESPN’s broadcast. “Part of that certainly is the missed games with Brad Beal. This team was built around those three stars. The underwhelming supporting cast — that comes from those massive trades for Durant and Bradley Beal that really gutted the organization and left them having to sign a lot of minimum players … and then the understanding they lack the assets, the trade capital to go out and really improve this team.

“This is something they have to manage in Phoenix with Kevin Durant. You’ve seen it before. It’s a stark reminder of how short of a window and how this team has to win big and has to win big quickly based on how it’s constructed.”

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Chimezie Metu: Suns didn’t hear noise of Woj report about Kevin Durant’s frustration