Does Devin Booker Really Want To Leave Phoenix?

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  • There are reports that Devin Booker wants to leave the Phoenix Suns
  • Booker led the Suns to an 8-0 record in the Disney Bubble seeding games.
  • The Suns are a +3300 to win the Western Conference.

The Phoenix Suns’ struggles continued last season as the team missed the playoffs for the 10th straight season with Devin Booker being their lone bright spot. After failing to make the playoffs again this past season, there are rumors that the 23-year old guard wants out of the Valley of the Suns to seek for greener pastures.

Booker was one of the best players at Disney bubble tournament. He averaged 30.5 points and six assists per game in eight seeding games played and finished second to Damian Lillard in the Bubble MVP voting. More importantly, the Suns went 8-0 in their eight seeding games played. Despite that, the Suns missed the playoffs yet again and for Booker, it was another disappointing finish.

According to Ryen Rusillo of the Ben Simmons Podcast, Booker leaving Phoenix is the “worst kept secret in the NBA”. Last July, it was also reported by the New York Post’s Marc Berman that Booker is the target of the Knicks’ new management led by Leon Rose and coach Tom Thibodeau.

But is Booker even thinking about leaving the Suns?

Committing Long Term To Phoenix

In 2018, Booker signed a five-year $158M max extension with the Suns. During the signing, Booker talked about committing long-term to Phoenix and pursuing a title with the Suns:

The Suns have missed the playoffs in each of the last 10 seasons. During Booker’s first four seasons there, the team did not win more than 23 regular season games in any year. But during the 2019-20 campaign, the Suns may have turned a corner, especially with how they played in the Orlando bubble.

Bubble’s Best

The Suns struggled for the most part of the 2019-20 season. A large part of their struggles can be attributed to the 25-game suspension of DeAndre Ayton who was punished by the league for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy. Without Ayton, the Suns went 14-21. In contrast, they were 20-18 with Ayton providing Booker the needed inside game. This included a perfect 8-0 record in the Orlando bubble.

Phoenix entered the Disney bubble with their win total set at 2.5, tied with the Brooklyn Nets and San Antonio Spurs for the second lowest with only the Washington Wizards’ 1.5 wins worse. Sportsbooks gave the Suns a +115 odds to go over that total. They also placed the odds for a team to go 8-0 at +375. The Suns beat both odds and put themselves in playoff contention during the final play date.

Ultimately, the deficit was too much. The Blazers ended up getting the 8th seed after beating the Grizzlies in the first ever play-in tournament in NBA playoff history. But playoffs or not, the Suns left Orlando as the only unbeaten team. They had plenty to be proud of and had a lot of positives to build around for the coming years.

Future is Bright For Phoenix

Sportsbooks have pegged the Suns as a +3300 longshot to win the Western Conference. That’s only the 9th best odds to win to top the division. They also have only the 14th best odds to win the NBA title at +6600. Likewise, Booker is just a +3500 to win the 2021 NBA MVP award. But the odds can be just as wrong as when they predicted Phoenix to win only 2.5 games at Disney World.

Regardless of what the odds say, the future is bright for Phoenix. For as long as Booker and Ayton stay healthy, the Suns will be in good hands. With Kelly Oubre Jr., Mikal Bridges, Jevon Carter, and Cameron Johnson, the Suns have a roster filled with talent. With an average age of 24.6, they were the youngest of the 22 teams in the Disney bubble. Despite that, they left Disney World as the only unbeaten team.

This is not the first time that Booker has been rumored to be leaving Phoenix. But that’s just like proclaiming an election winner based on polls not actual voting results. When you look at the big picture, there’s actually more reasons to stay for Booker than to leave.

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