Deandre Ayton and Monty Williams didn't end last season on the best of terms, but the Phoenix Suns head coach said the pair have not met to hash out any lingering issues.
"We don't need to air anything out. That's my point. I'm not gonna keep addressing that," Williams told reporters Tuesday. "It's like, he's the player, I'm the coach. Just like with Book and Chris and Mikal, D.A. gets his work in every day. He's 22 and 12 in 20 minutes. Those are the kind of things that we expect from him. I don't need to sit down and talk to him about it."
Williams played Ayton for only 17 minutes in the Suns' Game 7 loss to the Dallas Mavericks last year in the Western Conference Semifinals. Reports of the coach's simmering frustration with Ayton soon followed, and the center said the two did not speak the entire offseason.
"I haven't spoken to him at all, ever since the game," Ayton told reporters last week. "I can show him better than I can tell him. It's life. Nobody cares about the uncomfortable nature of it. It's how you perform and what you bring to the table. What's said is already said."
The Suns' relationship with Ayton as a whole was not in the best place since the team refused to offer him a max contract extension last fall. Phoenix instead allowed Ayton to hit restricted free agency and then matched a four-year, $133 million offer sheet he signed with the Indiana Pacers.
The move saved the Suns some money over the course of the contract and avoided a potential fifth year, but it's hard to say the move was worth the trouble of creating behind-the-scenes tension that has carried on for at least a year.
Regardless of what's publicly said, a coach and player not speaking at all over an entire offseason doesn't seem like a healthy dynamic—particularly given where Ayton and Williams left things last season.
Williams may not be in love with the line of questioning, but he's spearheading a team that embarrassed itself in a Game 7 last season and then kicked off the preseason by losing to the National Basketball League's Adelaide 36ers.
The Suns better start off the regular season hot, or the chorus of concern will only grow.