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Suns GM believes Phoenix will be ‘first team’ to ‘maximize’ Kevin Durant’s talents

Kevin Durant is a two-time NBA champion, a league MVP and arguably one of the greatest pure scorers of his generation.

But Durant and the Phoenix Suns’ season came to a screeching halt after the Minnesota Timberwolves completed a four-game sweep. The 35-year-old Durant appeared in 75 regular-season games, the most he had played since the 2018-19 season.

Durant averaged 27.1 points this season, but the Suns did not win at the same rate he grew accustomed to when he was winning titles with the Golden State Warriors. Despite the disappointing end to the season, Suns general manager James Jones said the franchise remains focused on becoming the “first team” to find a way to “maximize” the NBA superstar.

“I tell you, that’s a constant focus for us to continue to figure out how to maximize Kevin Durant,” Jones told reporters Wednesday when asked if the team had successfully maximized Durant’s talent during the 2023-24 campaign.


“No one has done it yet. I believe we will be the first team to do it because if we can maximize him, we can maximize our entire roster. We’re a better team, but that’s not an issue. I think Kevin had a phenomenal season this year offensively. We’re a better team, but that’s not an issue. I think Kevin had a phenomenal season this year offensively.”  


Jones added that time was simply not on the Suns’ side as everyone attempted to get on the same page.

“I think he had some of the best stretches of his career this year. So, it wasn’t an offensive thing. It wasn’t a utilization or usage thing. It was just the totality of figuring out when and where and how to do it together. We just could not get on the same page. We ran out of time.”

Kevin Durant plays against the Nuggets

While Durant won a pair of championships with the Warriors and the 2014 MVP trophy, he also led the league in scoring four times and was a two-time NBA Finals MVP. Durant’s long list of individual achievements with previous teams made Jones’ recent comments somewhat perplexing.

Kevin Durant looks up

The 14-time NBA All-Star has not returned to the NBA Finals since he left Golden State, but he did play well during the Brooklyn Nets’ playoff run in 2021. He averaged 34.3 points per game that postseason.

The Suns acquired Durant from the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster trade in February 2023. He appeared in just eight games for Phoenix during the 2022-23 season as he dealt with an ankle injury.

The Suns have never won an NBA title and have not advanced past the second round of the playoffs since Durant’s arrival in the Arizona desert.

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