Of the many subplots of the Suns disastrous Game 7 performance against the Mavs on Sunday night, the one that has the most bearing on Phoenix’s future is that of Deandre Ayton’s standing with the team.
Ayton played just 17 minutes and when Monty Williams was asked why Ayton got benched after the game, he sternly replied “it’s internal” and moved on to other topics. On Monday, Williams and Ayton had still not sat down to discuss whatever happened 1-on-1, although Monty had spoken with the team and seemed ready to move on, but given Ayton’s status as a restricted free agent this summer set to command a max contract, that entire situation complicates the Suns’ summer plans.
There were rumblings on Twitter from some fans in the Footprint Center near the Suns bench of an argument in the second half between Ayton and Williams in a tunnel, but no visual confirmation from TV cameras or anything that was noticed by those covering the game live. As such, that hasn’t become the massive topic it would if there were such video evidence and mostly it’s been a lot of shrugging and speculating on Ayton’s future.
However, Skip Bayless had a man on the ground in Phoenix sitting across from the Suns bench, none other than Lil Wayne (who got roasted for his “Luka a ho” tweet from earlier in the series), and was willing to report that Williams and Ayton had a spat that led to them being separated after Williams, allegedly, told Ayton he “quit on us.”
"From what our man Lil Wayne told me, he was sitting across [from the Suns bench], Monty got so upset with Ayton that he said, 'You freaking quit on us'"
Skip Bayless with some insight on what happened between Monty Williams & Deandre Aytonpic.twitter.com/SbtNojdheH
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 16, 2022
Now, this is a wild game of telephone going from Lil Wayne seated across the court and either hearing this or lip-reading it (Bayless wasn’t sure which) and then relaying it to his close personal friend Skip Bayless who brought this information to a national TV audience. At some point, especially if Ayton departs Phoenix this summer, we will likely get some stronger sourced reporting on what exactly happened that got Ayton benched, but this would certainly explain why Monty was clearly upset about it after the game and not willing to discuss the matter.
If it ends up being the case, then everyone better credit pre-eminent NBA newsbreaker Lil Wayne for having the scoop first.