Monty Williams Pushes Back On Ayton Controversy: "He's the Player, I'm The Coach"

It was a bit of a shock when Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton said last week that he hadn't spoken to Monty Williams ever since the head coach benched him for the final quarter of their Game 7 elimination in last spring's playoffs. 

Now Williams has spoken out, and is frankly frustrated with the whole controversy. 

When he was asked at practice on Tuesday whether he's spoken to Ayton yet to air out their differences, Williams indicated that they haven't, and said “We don’t need to air anything out. That’s my point. I’m not gonna keep addressing that. He's the player, I'm the coach." Whoa.

"I coach Deandre every day in practice" added Williams "He's here getting his work in. That's what we expect of our guys. Talking about whether or not I talk to a guy I think is kinda senseless."

Ayton was noticeably despondent at Suns Media Day, after a contract dispute this summer which was eventually resolved when the Suns matched a max offer sheet of 4 years, $133M made by the Indiana Pacers. 

The 24-year-old big man doubled down on his frustration the next day at practice, saying he hadn't spoken at all to Williams since that Game 7 benching. 

Ayton averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds in 58 games last season for the Suns, his 4th straight year of similar numbers since being selected with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft. He'd been hoping for a max rookie extension in the summer of 2021, but when it never came, he was upset with the franchise heading into last season, and now that's still the case a year later. 

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