NBA

Booker backs Suns for glory after Durant's statement trade

By Sports Desk February 14, 2023

Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker expects "exciting times" after Kevin Durant's trade made the rest of the NBA stand up and take notice.

Durant's move to Phoenix represents a big acquisition for new Suns owner Mat Ishbia, who completed his takeover last week and acted swiftly to bring in the 13-time All-Star and two-time NBA Finals MVP.

The 34-year-old, joining from the Brooklyn Nets with T.J. Warren, has averaged 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists this season.

After hitting the courts with Durant – who has been out of action over a month due to a knee injury – Booker hailed the small forward's quality as he lauded the Suns for attracting such talent.

"You can't put it into words, man," Booker said on Tuesday. "It's just all feeling. Looking forward to the post-All-Star break when we actually get the chance to compete with each other.

"I've never got to do that besides the Olympics with Kev, so it's exciting times around here.

"We built something that the league has picked up on. We were probably the laughingstock of the NBA about four or five years ago, and just turning that around to something serious to championship contenders is a quick turnaround for us, so we take a lot of pride in what we've built here.

"People reach out and they're like 'Oh, that's what y'all are on?' Just trying to get it done, man. Just trying to get it done.

"For us to be a destination that Kev wanted to come to is a big sign of that, to show respect for what we've done so far. We still have more to do, but we're moving in the right direction."

Phoenix fell narrowly short in the 2021 Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, losing 4-2, and Booker believes the Suns will soon achieve glory as they assemble their squad.

"One-hundred per cent. We kind of had the same approach with the team before the trade. Once you get a taste of Finals experience and having that under your belt, that's all that you want," he said.

"We have one goal; we know it's not going to be easy to get there, but we feel we have the talent, we have the mindset and everything it takes right here in this gym."

While Durant arrives with a major reputation and experience at the top of the game, Booker does not expect the Suns to have to adjust much to another star player.

"We don't have a hierarchy," he continued. "That's the thing about it. You have Chris Paul, one of the greatest leaders of all time. You have coach Monty [Williams], you have [general manager] James Jones, we have guys that are all on the same plan.

"I think we all have different types of leading styles, which is the great thing about leadership it comes in many different forms. And I think all of our games, and our mindsets, complement each other very well."

Booker sees Durant as "one of the best to ever do it", as he added: "It's just something that you got to be around. To feel when you're around greatness.

"It's just a different look, a different feel – but I'm excited to be a part of it."

The 31-27 Suns sit fourth in the Western Conference and host the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.

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