Dwayne Wade didn't need to say this. He was asked, in essence, where he saw Devin Booker in the pecking order of the NBA. After praising Booker's thirst for knowledge, he warned that he foresaw a similar thirst for more support.
"I'm worried about if they don't get the talent around him that he needs now, that he's gonna look at his friends, that maybe is having fun and success somewhere else, and money will not matter at that point."
Minutes earlier, TNT aired Booker's sit-down with Steve Nash, during which Booker was asked what the future holds for him.
"I haven't been secretive about saying it out loud, is, you know I want to be a winner."
You can poo poo TNT cast members as simply looking for something interesting to say, but it's hard to deny Dwayne Wayne as a credible source.
Wade prefaced his worries with the acknowledgment that he and James Jones are close friends, and said he'd recently spent time with Booker during his summer invite. What he didn't mention, but what we all know, is that Wade has a uniquely acute understanding of the need for support. He was surrounded by it in Miami in the form of NBA mastermind Pat Riley. He also helped get his best friend, LeBron James, out of a support-deprived situation in Cleveland.
After the segment aired, the Suns went on to lose by 16 points to the Portland Trailblazers, without Deandre Ayton. Booker's "co-star" sat out his third straight game with an ankle injury.
You get the feeling that this will be an active summer for the Suns, because if Dwayne Wade can feel the heat, so can his pal James Jones. A report came out last week that the Suns attempted to trade for Magic forward Aaron Gordon at the trade deadline, and I'd expect them to re-visit that when trades open up again after the season.
As it stands, the Suns sit above just the Timberwolves and Warriors in the Western conference standings. But next season, the Warriors will shoot back into title contention with the additions of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, and Minnesota will presumably get better after D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns have an offseason to coalesce.
There's a real possibility that, despite the 2020 Suns already surpassing the highest win total of the Devin Booker era, they fall to the bottom of the West for the fourth time in five years next season.
Dwayne Wade stated the obvious, but his ties to James Jones, and his personal experience with support, add extra weight to his words.