Devin Booker committed his long-term future to the Phoenix Suns this summer by signing a five-year max contract worth a whopping $158 million.
The youngster is prepared to take on the burden of being the face of the franchise at a time when they’re hoping to turn their fortunes around and be competitive again.
The responsibility of making the Suns a winning team will fall on Booker’s shoulders.
Coming out of mediocrity
Phoenix finished with the worst record in the NBA last season, so they face a huge task of competing in a stacked Western Conference.
But based on their offseason dealings, the team has shown its moving in the right direction.
With a mixture of exciting draft picks, savvy veterans and a star in Booker, the Suns have intentions to improve next year.
Their talented shooting guard knows he’ll be under pressure to live up to his huge contract but he’s ready for the challenge.
“It’s winning time,” said Booker, per CBS Sports. “With that contract, and even before the contract, I felt that pressure to succeed for the city and the franchise.
“They took a chance on me to be that [max] guy, I know it comes with a lot of leadership and responsibility, but I think I’m built for it.
“I’m looking forward to next year a lot, with the additions to the team, we’re in much better shape to have a much better season.”
The Arizona-based outfit secured the number one draft pick for the first time in their history and selected hugely promising center Deandre Ayton.
They also took Mikal Bridges with the 10th pick and that gives them a dominant big man presence inside and a shooter who can play on both ends of the floor.
In free agency, they signed experienced former NBA champion Trevor Ariza, who enjoyed a solid campaign with the Houston Rockets.
With a young core of Josh Jackson, Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss already on their roster, the Suns could surprise some people next season.
“We’re in the best shape we’ve been in since I’ve been a part of the franchise,” Booker said. “With the trades we’ve made, and with Deandre.
“He had an unbelievable summer league, playing the right way, not forcing it, was still dominating on both sides of the floor.
“He’ll be the down force threat we need to open up space for everybody else.”
For the first time in years, there’s real optimism in Phoenix and rightfully so.
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