This couldn't have been what the Phoenix Suns had in mind when they made the blockbuster deal for Kevin Durant. Partnering Devin Booker and Durant, two of the NBA's elite scorers, with Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton seemed more than enough to overwhelm most opponents, at least offensively.

Unfortunately, Paul, 38, is much closer to the end of his career than in his prime; a groin injury knocked him out of the semifinals against the Denver Nuggets. The Suns gave up too much depth to build a top-heavy roster—a potential liability, even at full strength. That Ayton missed the finale with a rib contusion only added insult to yet another injury.

Under the new leadership of team governor Mat Ishbia, the Suns went for it. And fell flat. But was the Durant trade a mistake or the foundational move that needs an offseason for the franchise to fill out the rest of the roster?


Still Top-Heavy

The Suns go into summer with the same issues they faced in the playoffs: too much invested in four players and not enough support throughout.

That shouldn't be a shock to the front office, who sources say understood their initial run with Durant may have a ceiling. Similar to the Kyrie Irving deal in Dallas (though the Mavericks didn't even make the play-in, let alone the playoffs), the meat of some moves may be about the future. Any short-term success is just the gravy.

Phoenix needs depth. Period. Over the last few months, many executives, agents and other NBA sources were asked, "Who is the fifth-best player on the Suns?"

The answers included Torrey Craig, Cam Payne, Josh Okogie and Landry Shamet, but none of the replies suggested the Suns were swimming in a sea of riches. The consensus was that the team didn't have a fifth NBA-caliber starter. Not to denigrate those listed above—they are all rotation-level players—but those polled didn't think the Suns had enough depth to win a title this season.