Phoenix Suns Center Dender Eaton He said he hasn’t spoken to coach Monty Williams since he was benched during a stunning Game 7 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in May.
Eaton had a tense summer with The Suns, signing a four-year, $133 million bid paper with the Indiana Pacers before Phoenix was matched using restricted free agent rights.
“I haven’t spoken to him at all since the game,” Ayton told reporters after the first training session of the season on Tuesday. “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 has been said has already been said.”
Ayton trained at the Suns facility for weeks before the training camp, but Williams said he purposely decided to leave the players alone for a bit this summer to give them space.
“I think there’s always been a need for a 1v1 game among the guys that I’ve been around for a while,” Williams said. “Some players need it and some don’t. I’ll figure that out as the season progresses. I’ll talk to everyone like I always do during camp and it won’t be a problem at all.”
Eaton has been terse in his comments to the media about his feelings over the past two days about how contract discussions are going. He has made it clear that he intends to take a work-like approach to the season and hasn’t had his usual hilarious attitude.
“When I’m between these lines, I work, man,” Eaton said. “I know I don’t play for myself. I have an organization on my chest and a name on my back that I have to represent, I’m just here to work.”
The Maffes, seeded first after winning 64 games last season, lost by 33 points at home. Eaton played only 17 minutes into the match. At the time when Williams was asked why, he only said it was an “insider” matter.
At a team dinner Monday evening, Williams spoke with the team about the loss.
“A lot of Game 7 was done but we tackled that last night as a team,” Williams said. “I put him to bed last night.”
On Monday, Williams said he believed Eaton could put any outstanding issues behind him.
“He’s a very good player, and he’s a good guy,” Williams said. “There are times when you bump your heads over certain issues, but that doesn’t define a person holistically. And I think sometimes those things get blown out of proportion and rightly so, when you don’t know all the facts.”
Eaton averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds in 58 games last season.
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