Bradley Beal’s intro touched on all the accompanying Suns drama

Bradley Beal’s introduction as a member of the Phoenix Suns gave us no big surprises about Beal himself.

He was basically given a choice of where to land with the Washington Wizards rebuild, and for reasons starting with Devin Booker and Kevin Durant, it ended up being Phoenix.

“It was a tough decision, honestly. It all came down to Washington and their front office. I respect them and what they do,” he said. “I don’t want to get into what they do and other teams and the process . .. It was a tough one, I’m not going to sit here and say it was easy. I’ll let them answer those questions when the time comes.

“It’s more or less ‘go where you want’. That’s the message I’ve been getting throughout the process.”

Beal will find a new challenge in combining his skills and splitting the duties with Booker and Durant, and that’s a story to follow every day heading into an expectedly deep playoff run.

But the news cycle this week borrowed Beal’s introductory news conference to answer — or not answer — other things bubbling to the surface.

The Suns make Deandre Ayton part of their star team

Suns head coach Frank Vogel made sure to name center Deandre Ayton as a piece on par with the three perimeter stars. Beal also went all-in on building up Ayton as he has been hit with trade rumors and reports in the past week.

Vogel said there is offensive potential to tap in Ayton and, like the last two Suns coaches, called the big man the defensive anchor.

“I’ve never had a chance to play with this type of talent level,” Beal added. “I think DA can be a huge piece for our team. It’s difficult because we’re on the outside and always looking in, but I see his value. I think he’s a really talented big, one of the best big in the league and a really willing defender.

“Being around three other guys that can pretty much carry a team, I think it’s a whole different situation than I’m used to being a part of,” Beal added when he joined Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke.

Jones addressed his role and CP3’s ugly departure

Chris Paul along with Landry Shamet and a host of draft picks and swaps were traded for Beal, Jordan Goodwin and Isaiah Todd. It did not publicly appear to be a mutual parting from Paul’s perspective.

While on tour to promote his new book, Paul expressed disappointment after being open that he wanted to ride it back with Phoenix.

Paul told the New York Times after the trade that he suspected new Suns owner Mat Ishbia and his friend Isiah Thomas, the embattled former New York Knicks executive, had made the decision to trade Paul for Beal. Paul said he hadn’t heard of such a possibility when he spoke with president of basketball operations and GM James Jones just before the trade news broke.

That sparked curiosity about Jones’ role.

Hired by former owner Robert Sarver and promoted under Sam Garvin’s interim leadership, Jones has stuck around as the face of the front office under Ishbia. That’s all despite reports of Ishbia’s involvement in the Kevin Durant deal, the very obvious change in how the front office operates with aggression and Thomas’ presence around the Suns’ playoff games.

“Matt is great. He’s been extremely great to work with,” Jones said Thursday. “My role has expanded, as you see with this recent transaction that we did to acquire Bradley. Working with Mat, with (new CEO Josh Bartelstein), with Frank, it’s been great for me. It has allowed me to improve my team, my team with me in basketball operations. We’ve been able to push forward with some really big, I’d say some really high or big requests. And we have been able to achieve that as a team.

“Just as a whole, we’ve been encouraged and charged to do greater things,” Jones added. “When you do bigger things, it requires more work, more output, and it requires more collaboration and more collaboration from the whole. That’s what I mean when I say it’s expanded.”

How about that Kyrie Irving-to-the-Suns rumor?

During Vogel’s initial June press conference, he and Jones expressed a desire to keep Paul and Ayton despite their contracts limiting Phoenix’s cap.

News of Paul’s uncertain future dropped less than a week later.

Jones dodged a question Thursday about keeping point guard Cam Payne, which his contract guarantees Thursday. For what it’s worth, Vogel mentioned Payne running points this coming year.

Jones dodged another question about whether a qualifying offer was extended to Darius Bazley, who could be a restricted free agent if so.

And so Jones certainly wasn’t talking the biggest news of the day.

“What we do in free agency is an internal matter, we always keep it internal. There are a lot of great players we will talk to this period,” Jones said of a report of Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving planning to meet with the Suns after free agency opens Friday.

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