Devin Booker signed a five-year, $158 million contract extension with the Phoenix Suns back in 2018, making him the highest-paid player in franchise history. He currently has four years and $130.97 million remaining on that deal.
Despite seemingly being locked up long-term, it appears as though Booker has his sights set on moving on. According to Ryen Russillo of The Ringer, “the worst kept secret” in the NBA is the 24-year-old wanting out. Russillo made the comment on The Bill Simmons podcast.
Booker is coming off a tremendous year with the Suns. He averaged 26.6 points, 6.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game, while shooting 48.9 percent from the field, 35.4 percent from beyond the arc and 91.9 percent from the free throw line.
Recently, Simmons brought up the idea of Booker ending up with the New York Knicks.
“There’s also a real fear in the NBA,” he said. “I’m fine talking about this. It’s rumor, heresy stuff. But it’s just a fact. Kentucky, Worldwide Wes had a great relationship with John Calipari. CAA’s got multiple Kentucky guys and there’s a real fear in the league that the Knicks are going to become the Kentucky pipeline team. Devin Booker is a great example of that, right?”
Simmons was not the first to suggest this. Back in July, Marc Berman of the New York Post also noted that New York would try to put together a pro version of Kentucky in the Big Apple, featuring Booker as a possible centerpiece.
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— Game 7 (@game7__) November 3, 2020
“However, since Leon Rose was hired as president, the player to watch out for most is Suns combo guard Devin Booker,” Berman wrote.
“Booker and [Karl-Anthony] Towns were Rose clients who played at Kentucky, which means Knicks adviser William Wesley is close to each. Rose has done well with Kentucky standouts because of Wesley,” he continued.
The Philadelphia 76ers seem like another possible landing spot for Booker. Several weeks back, Bleacher Report brought up a deal that would send Booker to Philly for Ben Simmons. The rationale there is clear: “Because they’ve seen enough of the Simmons-Joel Embiid pairing to know it’s never going to work.”
Don’t try to rob the greatest UFC fighter of all time. It won’t end well. https://t.co/VtBEWH0kq3
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 2, 2020
This week, reports surfaced that new Sixers boss Daryl Morey was going to make a serious play for Houston Rockets star James Harden. Although that deal is unlikely, it does indicate that despite all their talk about believing in the Simmons-Embiid core, the Sixers are actually eying something different.
One way or another, the writing seems to be on the wall. Between little things like Booker’s increasing public profile outside of basketball, him recently selling his Arizona-based home, and Suns owner Robert Sarver’s reputation for being extremely cheap, it is looking like the end is nigh.
Barring the Suns coming back next year and playing like they did in the bubble, it seems like all but a foregone conclusion that Booker will not finish out his current deal in Phoenix.