Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia appeared on The Bill Simmons podcast on May 3rd, days before he got into a physical confrontation with Nikola Jokic during the Suns - Denver Nuggets series. (Ishbia would be fined and Jokic and the Nuggets would go on to win the NBA championship a few weeks later.) Back on the podcast though, Ishbia spelled out his vision for giving the Suns' franchise the best chance to win an NBA title. It did not include Chris Paul or Deandre Ayton.
"The best chance for us to win a championship this year is with Kevin Durant. The best chance for us to win a championship next year is with Kevin Durant, next to Devin Booker, next to our guys."
Booker and Durant? The future. Chris Paul and DeAndre Ayton? Not mentioned.
It was reiminiscent of LeBron James saying he was excited to play with Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters in his I'm Back letter in Sports Illustrated, while he ignored Andrew Wiggins who had just been drafted with the top pick. Waiters would be shipped out in the JR Smith and Iman Shumpert trade a few months later, but at least he was mentioned. Wiggins was never part of the plan.
And neither were CP3 or Deandre Ayton in Phoenix. Paul was traded as part of a deal for Bradley Beal on Sunday and Ayton involved in trade rumors with just a few days left before the NBA Draft. It was clearly no accident that Ishbia chose not to mention either of them by name.