The Phoenix Suns are making a statement.
At Monday’s media day, Suns players wore the “Statement Edition” jersey not long after the team’s owner, Robert Sarver announced he’d look into selling the team amid allegations of racist, misogynistic and hostile incidents during almost two decades of overseeing the team.
The promotion for the jersey is clear.
“We’re here,” the promo reads. “Together. Facing every challenge.”
The conclusion of the NBA’s investigation into Sarver was announced on Sept. 13. The investigation found that Sarver had engaged in what the league called “workplace misconduct and organizational deficiencies.”
On Monday, local and national media alike packed a room and asked plenty of questions regarding Sarver’s actions.
“For me, it was validating (players) emotions and feelings,” said Monty Williams, the team’s head coach. “...I tried my best to be a sounding board.”
Williams said he had discussions about the issue and talked with players over the phone.
In the 2021-22 regular season, the Suns rolled to the league’s best regular season record and a franchise-best mark of 64-18. The Suns fell to the Dallas Mavericks during the second round of the NBA Playoffs.
“I do think if we continue to show the love and respect for one another, we can move forward in the right way,” Williams said on Monday. “I think that will enhance our culture. I think it’s going to bring us closer together.”
Now the team moves forward but there still could be roster tweaks before the start of the regular season.
Forward Jae Crowder reportedly asked for a trade this summer and announced he wouldn’t attend training camp.
As of Monday, Crowder was still a member of the Suns and hadn’t yet been traded. It is not known why Crowder asked for a trade.
The regular seasons tips off at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19 vs. the Mavs.
“(Crowder) was a big part of this team,” said guard Devin Booker. “Like I said, it is what it is.”
Guard Chris Paul said the summer allowed him to get refreshed and have minimal distractions overall. He said he spent a lot of time with his family over the summer.
Paul said stepping on the court will give him peace as the preseason and regular season approach.
The team will try to find balance by getting out there and playing on a regular basis, he said.
“It’s (free moments) — the chance to hoop,” Paul said. “(I can) get on the court and just be.”