‘Superteam’ is a term which I have a profound distaste for. It implies a level of certainty with success that simply isn’t realistic in many cases, and it also implies that building a superteam is a better way of succeeding right at the present time. My personal prerogative aside, Devin Booker’s recent comments that he wants to be a part of a superteam, and that he wants the superteam to come to him (in Phoenix, implicitly) bring some important questions around the term ‘superteam,’ and the answers to those questions show that a Superteam in Phoenix is about as likely as Vladimir Putin officiating a same-sex wedding.
The main reason a superteam in Phoenix isn’t going to happen, at least not for a long, long time is the lack of bargaining power they bring. There are several teams, from big-and I mean big-markets that are on the come up with cap-space galore, and arguably better building blocks already in place than the Suns. The Knicks, Bulls, Hawks, and Clippers are all teams with young cores but no perennial all-stars. Just good, young talent who are flexible and malleable going into the future. Not only that, there are several other teams that are already primed for building superteams who are succeeding right this second, with great front office structures and coaching staff, such as the Celtics, the Lakers (less stability on the coaching staff side, but I digress) and the Sixers (who are already set for talent and unlikely to make a big move for a while, so they’re kind of a non-factor). At best, I’d say that the Suns are approximately 10th in line as a superteam destination.
Let me put it this way, there’s a reason many people see Anthony Davis as a Celtic being somewhat of an inevitability. The Celtics are stagnant, have trade pieces galore, and can easily cough up a package that no team could possibly match. Putting AD with Kyrie Irving, maybe a healthy Hayward (presuming he isn’t a trade piece) and budding all-star Jayson Tatum? That’s way more likely than any marquis free agent going to Phoenix.
Free-agent signings, by the way, brings me to my next point: the free agents coming up soon are not going to go to Phoenix, for a multitude of individual reasons. Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Anthony Davis, and some more peripheral guys like Demarcus Cousins, are all going to be available this summer, in what will be an unusually hectic free-agent class. Klay Thompson is almost certainly not going to leave GSW, and if he did he wouldn’t go to Phoenix as he and Booker play the same position. Durant is more likely to end up in a big market if he leaves GSW, and if he decides he wants to be a superteam guy he’s got far better choices in LA, Boston, and…New York? I guess? Kawhi might stay in Toronto, and if he doesn’t, he’s likely to go to the Clippers. Butler intends to re-sign with Philly, and AD is certainly not going leave a team that’s been wasting his prime to go to a team that will waste it harder and staying in the stacked West. So unless Devin’s plans for a superteam go way into the future, for free-agents that would be coming off of contracts that haven’t been signed yet, there isn’t a way to make that happen.
All in all, the supposed allure of superteams is that it’s a couple of titans joining a team that is already good but has a system in place to support more, like Miami in 2010. As exciting as a team with prime Devin Booker, AD, and who the hell knows else would be (hint: not as exciting as that sentence structure may make it sound) Phoenix is the type of place people leave to join superteams, not come to. Remember that Steve Nash guy? One of the best point guards to ever grace an NBA court? He left to join a famously underachieving superteam. That Lebron fellow has now left Cleveland twice in hopes of meeting bigger talents at his destination, and he only returned to Cleveland with budding Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to support him. Either way, Devin Booker sounds like he’s talking out of his ass (because he is) and should just focus on learning how to build his game going into the next generation of basketball, so maybe he’ll be desirable enough to go somewhere else and join some other superstars in a market where he’d make some big money.